Billy Tserenbat is the latest food truck operator to matriculate into a brick-and-mortar location.
His popular Bibuta, which built its reputation on sushi burritos (pictured, above) and poke bowls, is opening a breakfast-and-lunch location on the skyway level of Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis, on Nicollet Mall between 6th and 7th Streets. The counter-service spot will feature a small seating area.
“I just signed the lease,” said Tserenbat. “We're taking over the spot where St. Croix is located. It’s a great location, it's surrounded by all these giant office towers. Construction is going to start in a few weeks, and we’ll probably open sometime in October.”
At Gaviidae, the menu will be familiar to fans of the truck. “Sushi burritos and poke bowls,” he said. “Whatever we do in the truck, we’ll do in the restaurant.”
Bibuta’s version of the sushi burrito wraps soy paper around pieces of bigeye tuna and salmon, accompanied by rice, avocado, cilantro, cucumber and a spiced-up mayo. There’s a beef iteration as well, with thinly sliced steak wrapped in nori paper and finished with the same fillings. On the truck, they run $14 and $12, respectively.
And breakfast is not a typo.
“Now that I’m spending a lot of time downtown, I see that there aren’t very many options for breakfast,” said Tserenbat. “At least nothing healthy, and people are always talking about how amazing it would be if they could have a sushi burrito or a poke bowl in the morning. I’ve spent the last year trying out some new dishes.”
(Bibuta isn't the only truck in the middle of landing a permanent location; Misfit Coffee Co. is under construction at 24th and Lyndale in south Minneapolis, in the former home of Urban Bean.)
This isn’t the first time Tserenbat has followed this business plan. In 2013, he transformed his Sushi Fix truck into a Wayzata restaurant of the same name. He sold that operation last year after launching Mexican seafood-focused Baja Haus in the same shopping center. Now Tserenbat is bullish on downtown’s busy second floor. (That's the upcoming location, pictured, below).
“If you have a truck, you need to ask yourself, ‘Can I make enough money in five months to be able to feed myself for the other seven months?’" he said. "In the skyway, you can run your business all year long. There are so many good food trucks, and they should go into brick-and-mortar, that’s the way it should be.”
Fans of the Bibuta truck, don’t worry, it’s not going to disappear. And Tserenbat said that he's just getting started.
“We’re already looking at two more spots in downtown Minneapolis,” he said. “Bibuta really fits into the downtown atmosphere, but I don’t think the sushi burrito fits into the suburbs. Yet.”