Kenichi describes the artistic process of making sushi;
“Sushi is very personal. People see what I’m doing. I make them feel comfortable with me, then they enjoy my sushi more.”
Kenichi Kanada and Bil Rieger opened Kenichi Aspen in 1991 in the hope of providing Aspen with a new local hot spot “to see and be seen”. Today, Kenichi continues to delight with the freshest sushi, nightly chef specials, and a hot kitchen pumping out flavor! A 2009 timeless remodel creates a uniquely hip and alluring dining environment for Aspen locals and vacationers alike.
Kanada grew up in Nagoya, Japan before launching his sushi-making career at Takah Sushi in Aspen and later becoming the executive chef at Kenichi. Rieger, from Grand Rapids, Mich., grew up enjoying the many outdoor sports and general enthusiasm for life that is so prevalent in Colorado. While Rieger utilized his exceptional charisma to manage the floor of Kenichi, Kanada ensured only the finest and freshest fish be served.
When asked what brought him to Aspen, Kenichi Kanada replies: “I came on a ski vacation like everyone else… Now I like flying back from Denver and looking down from the plane on this wonderful little town [Aspen]. I have good feelings here.”
After opening Kenichi Pacific restaurant in Kailua-Kona in 2003, Kanada moved his permanent residence to Hawaii. Despite obstacles faced by the restaurant, Kenichi has consistently persevered while strengthening its foundational values. After Bil Rieger tragically passed away in September 2011, longtime business partner and CPA Brent Reed became Kenichi’s managing owner. Brent is proud to carry the torch and continue the “Kenichi Way” in Aspen. With annual fundraisers for Mt Rescue, Aspen Animal Shelter, Aspen Valley Ski Club, and Lift-Up food bank, Kenichi continually gives back to the community and seeks to provide amazing food, amazing service, in an amazing space
The success of Kenichi as a restaurant corresponds with the origin of “Kenichi” as a name – which translates in Japanese to signifying “strength” and “ambition” while being a strong name for your first born son.