Genji started out as a restaurant in Philadelphia, named after the title character in “The Tale of Genji,” the first Japanese novel ever written. This little restaurant at 1720 Sansom Street, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Omori had been a home-town favorite for many years. When Whole Foods Market began to open stores in Philadelphia, in 1997 they visited many local sushi restaurants to find the best and most authentic establishment. After discovering Genji, and observing the high quality and freshness of the ingredients and the craftsmanship of their sushi chefs, the Whole Foods team approached Mr. and Mrs. Omori to see if they would be interested in operating a few sushi bars within the Whole Foods stores. The family welcomed the opportunity, and quickly found that many Whole Foods Market customers are huge sushi fans who also appreciate quality, freshness, authenticity and customer service. These became the founding values upon which Genji was built.
As Whole Foods Market grew, so did the number of Genji sushi bars. Peace Dining Corporation, a Japanese restaurant chain owned by Mr. Masaki Kuboi acquired Genji in 2005. Peace Dining Corporation brought a new corporate energy to Genji, created a central kitchen in NYC and established a distribution center in Allentown PA, transforming the company into a leading take-out sushi chain. As the demand for superior quality sushi grew in the US, and as Whole Foods Market grew, Genji was privileged to be the sushi vendor of choice in one store after another. As the years progressed, we changed our name from “Genji Express” to a simpler “Genji,” standardized our recipes and sought out the best vendors, and created an unrivaled training and development program to teach our chefs to make sushi with the same skill and attention to detail as sushi chefs in Japan.
Today, Genji operates over 158 sushi bar locations in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and is the largest sushi vendor within the Whole Foods Market chain. Our 900 chefs undergo rigorous training to reach the top of their craft, and continuously maintain exceptional food safety scores, and unsurpassed customer service. We’ve opened many more stores and have welcomed even more team members to the family over the years, but we still stay true to the values that our founders established: uncompromising quality, freshness, authenticity and customer appreciation.