Trio of business partners hope sky is the limit for sushi ghost kitchen Sora

Trio of business partners hope sky is the limit for sushi ghost kitchen Sora

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CLEVELAND — Ghost kitchens have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic as the demand for carryout increased. That inspired a trio of business owners in Cleveland to turn their pop-up sushi spot into a full-time takeout option.

What You Need To Know

  • Kumar Arora is the brains behind Sora: Cleveland’s newest sushi ghost kitchen
  • Arora teamed up with Fabio Salerno, who owns Lago East Bank in the Flats downtown
  • Sora currently operates out of Lago’s kitchen

Behind the beauty of sushi is a lot of grunt work.

“I design everything here,” said Kumar Arora.

He is an idea guy. 

“Pave the way and just do something different,” he said.

Arora owns a company with brands in many industries.

“Fashion to nano-science to now CPG and food,” he said.

The Cleveland native lived in L.A. for just over six years and said design and marketing are his passions.

“If you can design it, you can make it,” said Arora.

Arora is the brains behind Sora: Cleveland’s newest sushi ghost kitchen.

“I wanted to start something like Sora just because I felt like the need of the pandemic and the idea of having fine dining in your own home is important to me,” he said.

But he doesn’t do it alone.

“It feels like a marriage. I’ll tell you that,” joked Fabio Salerno.

Arora teamed up with Salerno to bring Sora to life, at first, as a pop-up.

“Everybody that was in our lives kind of always thought that me and Kumar should get together and collaborate,” said Salerno.

Salerno owns Lago East Bank in the Flats downtown and has decades of restaurant experience. 

“It’s pretty much a family operation and me and my wife we met about 100 yards that way,” he said pointing outside his restaurant. “We’re very much Cleveland sweethearts.”

He has been in the Cleveland food scene his whole life.

“I was raised in a family restaurant,” said Salerno. “My father and mother were amazing chefs.”

Salerno said COVID-19 turned everything upside-down in the restaurant industry, which made now the perfect time to launch a takeout-only business in a box.

“We’re focusing on 20 pieces, but it’s one item. So, we can put all of our attention into that. That’s something you usually don’t have,” he said.

Sora currently operates out of Lago’s kitchen.

“So much more cost effective than when you’re approaching it the way you usually approach most kitchens where you’re starting from the beginning and you’re putting everything in,” said Salerno. “It’s a huge cost.”

Sushi seemed like the way to go, but they needed a great sushi chef to make their vision a reality. That’s where Kevin Wang came in.

“Once I touched sushi, I didn’t look back,” said Wang. “I kind of fell in love with it.”

Wang is from Taiwan, but he has lived in Ohio since he was 14.

“I remember when I was a kid in Taiwan when I was maybe 6 years old, I tried a piece of sashimi and I spat it out,” he said. “I think my pallet wasn’t developed yet.”

Believe it or not, it was in the Buckeye State that his love for sushi was born.

“To most people it just seems so simple — just a piece of fish on top of rice. But at the end of the day, it’s about trying to perfect every single aspect of the craft and of each individual ingredient,” said Wang.

He connected with Salerno about two years ago because of a shared goal:

“Bring some quality stuff to the Ohio people,” said Wang.

The three partners each bring something different to the table and their individual specialties are what make the operation work.

“They’re experts at what they do and I just focus on the food part,” said Wang.

Sora means sky in Japanese and the sky’s the limit for where this new business plans to go.

“And to do it here in a city we love so much is just really special,” said Salerno.

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