Little more than a decade ago, Dave Weiss was a software engineer with dreams of being in the restaurant business, joking that he needed to start a sushi restaurant to feed his own addiction.
That restaurant, Dave’s Sushi, celebrates its 10th anniversary this week with 10 percent of all sales from Feb. 18-23 benefitting Heart Of The Valley, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. There will also be special treats for customers that come in on the actual anniversary day, Feb. 20, and $10 specials all week.
“I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would be as successful as it is,” Weiss said, reminiscing about the last decade on Monday.
Weiss is a self-taught sushi-roller who modeled his restaurant after the laid back vibe of a sushi joint he happened upon in Hawaii. It was in stark contrast to the dark, formal restaurants he usually associated with sushi. Those places, he said, remained him of visiting a mean aunt’s house, where it was best to sit quietly and not ask questions. Sushi should be more fun.
“Sushi doesn’t have to be a crazy, foreign experience,” he said.
He called the place Dave’s, hoping to emulate the experience of inviting people over to his place for dinner.
“It’s a lot more than just eating and drinking,” he said. “It’s about friends and atmosphere.”
Keeping the intimacy is one of the many reasons he hasn’t expanded — and has no plans to in the future — even if he wishes for a bit more kitchen space.
Instead of size, Weiss measures success in ties to the community, in the donations to organizations and in the memories tied to the place. He sees people come in every year for birthdays and anniversaries and was in on a marriage proposal for a couple who had their first date in the restaurant.
“It’s humbling,” he said.