Rolls By U quietly opened on to the public on Saturday. Though the restaurant signed a lease on a location approximately a year and a half ago, the final license from the County came through last Friday.
The restaurant is the work of Latin Concepts, the same company behind Guarapo in Courthouse.
According to Faris Salim, one of the company’s partners, they were anxious to open Rolls By U as quickly as possible to give customers what they’ve been asking for.
“We want to create new thinking where people know they can come into the restaurant and create their own,” Salim said. “Arlington is one of the best places to do that. Why not give the people the power to choose what they want to eat while keeping it healthy, especially with sushi.”
The menu includes three basic items: bowls, rolls and “ritos,” the restaurant’s version of a sushi burrito. Diners can customize each of these by ordering in an assembly line fashion. They can choose proteins, veggies, extra items like quinoa or cream cheese, and sauces.
The kitchen is also completely open and visible to customers as they place their order.
For those who are more comfortable ordering off a set menu, there are specialty ritos and rolls to choose from. The rolls are from the menu of another Latin Concepts sister restaurant called Maté in Georgetown.
Salim said it was his experience working at Maté that gave him the idea for Rolls By U.
“People would always want to customize their orders because of allergies, wanting them to be vegan or gluten free,” he said. “I wanted to expand to Arlington and give it a shot, and that’s how we thought of putting a fast-casual restaurant here.”
Salim described the menu as having something for everyone, including those have allergies or prefer to eat vegan, gluten- or dairy-free. The menu items also aren’t limited to fish, as guests can choose grilled chicken, hanger steak or tofu as their protein.
While the entire menu is currently available, the restaurant is still making final preparations before holding an official grand opening within the next two weeks. Some of these include a sauce-tasting station, delivery service and a bar serving beer, wine, sake, cider and champagne.
There’s even outlets and USB ports along the walls in the dining area for the restaurant’s constantly-connected customers.
“We want people to be able to come in and out, but also feel like they can come here to relax and have a drink without having the pressure of sit down or fine dining,” Salim said.
Rolls by U is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.