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Menu Talk with Pat and Bret

Beyond Sushi chef and owner Guy Vaknin on bargaining with landlords, outdoor seating in NYC and preparing for the winter

The chef and owner advises being realistic about business plans

Listen to this podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts or SoundCloud.

Guy Vaknin had seven locations of Beyond Sushi, all in Manhattan, when the pandemic hit. Now he’s down to five units, having closed two — one in Chelsea Market and one near Wall Street — where he didn’t expect business to return any time soon and where the leases were expiring anyway.

But at the other five locations of this vegan concept, business has stabilized and he’s making ends meet.

Vaknin opened his first Beyond Sushi location in 2012, at the time offering maki-style rolls stuffed with vegetables and fruit. The menu has expanded since then to offer other meatless options such as oyster mushroom tacos with pickled red cabbage, cilantro, avocado mousse and chipotle sauce, and artichoke hearts stuffed with turmeric ground seitan and celery root purée.

In this podcast, Vaknin discusses how he has adjusted to the realities of COVID-era New York City, including renegotiating the rent he has to pay in the current climate.


Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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