Austin’s Vegan Sushi Girls Create Buzz With Pop-Up Series — Now These Entrepreneurs are Trying to Turn I.S. Sushi Into a Full Restaurant
T.The Austin food scene continues to boom with new plant-based options. IS Sushi recently hosted a vegan pop-up restaurant, Counter Culture, in East Austin. IS Sushi co-creator Sarah Sinclair and India Lovejoy served their typical vegan rolls, which were available to eat or to take away.
The best friends came up with IS Sushi last summer and used their shared love for good, healthy food. Chef Sinclair – an Austinite, model, artist, and longtime vegan – spends hours in the kitchen perfecting the art of plant-based cooking and sushi rolling. Lovejoy, the director of IS Sushi, supports Houston artists through her Black Buddha Creative Agency. The Houston native worked in-house and was a past membership manager at Project Row Houses.
The two combined their culinary and visual arts skills to deliver a guilt-free dining experience to vegan foodies. For the past few months, they’ve been hosting IS sushi pop-ups all over Austin.
“Our goal is to create delicious, plant-based sushi that is beneficial to all living beings and the planet,” says Lovejoy.
Sinclair makes bread rolls that are nutritionally balanced, and above all, filling. “As a vegan, it can be difficult to find a meal that is very filling,” says Sinclair. “So we wanted to make a kitchen that is not only tasty but also satisfying.”
IS Sushi X counterculture
For their latest pop-up, Sinclair and Lovejoy teamed up with the popular vegan restaurant Counter Culture. The event was a huge success as IS Sushi doubled its previous sales record.
“This was a great opportunity as Counter Culture is a very well established vegan restaurant in Austin that has a huge following,” says Lovejoy. “We got to know a whole new audience of vegans, vegetarians and even meat lovers.”
Sinclair made sushi rolls that customers didn’t even know were vegan. The main course was The Super Chef Special Roll, filled with a rainbow of vegetables including pickled cabbage, cucumber, avocado, and jalapeños. This top seller with spicy crabs and a dab of Sriracha is comparable to a classic California bun.
“We wanted to emulate flavors that sushi lovers are used to and comfortable with, so that the transition to vegan sushi would be a lot easier,” says Sinclair.
Another favorite was The Shroomin ‘Around Roll, which features fried shiitake mushrooms and spring onions with sriracha mayo and fried oyster mushrooms.
The best seller The Shroomin ‘Around Roll has fried shiitake mushrooms and spring onions with sriracha mayo and fried oyster mushrooms.
It is a crab roll mimicking a spicy crab roll and was named after Lovejoy’s astrological sign.
You could say Sinclair and Lovejoy play a role. And they don’t plan to slow down. The two continue to plan future pop-ups and dream of opening their own restaurant in Austin.