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Grand Hyatt Vail finds success with Yoshimi Pop-Up sushi bar

The new pop-up restaurant has been sold out most nights since opening in December

The Yoshimi culinary team specializes in traditional Japanese cuisine, serving high-quality fish in the form of sashimi, nigiri, or maki rolls.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy Photo

The Yoshimi Pop-Up sushi restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Vail is here to stay following three successful months in its new location.

The concept for the pop-up restaurant is derived from the original Yoshimi location at the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City. The Yoshimi culinary team specializes in traditional Japanese cuisine, focusing on serving high-quality fish in the form of sashimi, nigiri, or maki, also known as sushi rolls.

The Yoshimi Pop-Up restaurant is led by head sushi chef Tanapat “Tee” Vannopas, who brings over two decades of culinary experience — including years of training under various master sushi chefs — to the role. Born in Bangkok, Vannopas ran his own Thai and sushi restaurant for more than 12 years, and previously opened a sushi bar alongside acclaimed Japanese Chef Naoki Nakashima for the Hyatt Regency Chicago.



The menu at the Yoshimi Pop-Up is minimalistic and hones in on the basic elements of an authentic Japanese-style sushi bar. A select number of salads, as well as edamame and miso, are available for starters. Diners can choose freshly cut sashimi and nigiri from a selection of fish that includes staples such as salmon, tuna, yellowtail, eel, octopus and sea bass, among others, or can choose from a selection of six signature maki rolls.

All of the dishes are hand-rolled by sushi chefs at the built-in sushi bar, and Vannopas said they can create original rolls based on the preferences of the customer. The restaurant also features Sapporo on tap, Suntory Highball whiskey draft, premium sake flights and specialty cocktails.



Vannopas spent a number of weeks training with the culinary team at the Yoshimi location in Mexico City to perfect the quality of service that the restaurant cultivates.

“The real Japanese style is really a lot of technique and quality of the fish, how to check everything that you bring to the customer,” Vannopas said. “The thing about the restaurant is it’s very different from anywhere I’ve done that before. This one is more in quality, so I think it’s really different when you try that.”

Tanapat “Tee” Vannopas is the head sushi chef at Yoshimi Pop-Up.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy Photo

All of the fish that is used at Yoshimi Pop-Up is flown in fresh each day from locations around the world. Pierson Shields is the head chef at the Grand Hyatt Vail, and he said that the focus on quality and technique is what sets Yoshimi apart from other sushi restaurants in the area.

“What really attracted us to Yoshimi was the extensive training that they do,” Shields said. “They invited Tee to come down for a few weeks, and even though he is a master sushi chef I think it was great for him to see how they do things down in Mexico City. They really stick true to the Japanese roots, and it isn’t a big fusion restaurant that are really popular in a lot of places in America.”

This is the first pop-up restaurant that the Grand Hyatt has tried in their space. Shields said that the idea came from the hotel ownership, who recognized that the success that Yoshimi has been having in its Mexico City location could be seamlessly translated to the Vail location.

All of the fish that is used at Yoshimi Pop-Up is flown in fresh each day.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy Photo

“We have a huge transient guest group that comes from South America and Mexico, so a lot of people already knew about Yoshimi,” Shields said. “We thought that the collaboration would work well because of our clientele, and because we thought there was still a demand for sushi in the valley.”

Shields said that the idea has been a hit since its opening just before the holiday season in mid-December.

“We’ve sold out almost every night that we’ve been open, and we’ve got a big push from around the valley as well,” Shields said. “Not just hotel guests but people driving in. It’s been super fun, and exciting to see.”

Now heading into the spring season, the Yoshimi Pop-Up will remain in its location at the Grand Hyatt Vail. Shields said that making Yoshimi into a permanent restaurant instead of a pop-up location is not off the table, but for now they are going to continue watching how it does over the course of the year.

Yoshimi is the first pop-up restaurant that the Grand Hyatt Vail has tried in their space. It will remain at the hotel for the foreseeable future.
Grand Hyatt Vail/Courtesy Photo

“It’s a whole experience — it’s not just a hotel ballroom with a guy rolling sushi,” Shields said. “We’ve brought in special china for it, we’ve brought in special glassware, we did a whole build out with a Hoshizaki fridge and everything, so everything is rolled to order right in front of the guests. As it gets warmer, we’re going to open up our patio so you’ll be able to enjoy sushi on the patio and listen to the creek.”

The Yoshimi Pop-Up is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Interested individuals may make après and dining reservations online at OpenTable.com. The location can seat about 30 people, and may be rented out to large parties upon request. For more information and to see the Yoshimi Pop-Up menu, visit grandhyattvail.com.


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