When Lin Yang moved to Wenatchee from Florida in 2005, she was struck by how much the area reminded her of where she grew up in Fuzhou, China. Yang immediately felt at home among the rivers, mountains, and four seasons, although the climate was a lot drier than she was used to. In 2009, she and her husband opened Iwa Sushi in downtown Wenatchee, because, Yang says, “We love sushi, and we had to drive too far away – Seattle – to find a good sushi place.”Iwa Sushi has a loyal following that has grown over the years.“We never thought we would succeed,” said Yang, “but we have regular customers who come in once or twice a week. We’ve had the same staff for 5 years, and the locals come in and greet them by name. We are so grateful that we have a really nice community here.”
Iwa’s extensive menu includes gourmet sushi rolls with a wide range of sauces and fresh ingredients. They also serve sashimi, salads, Hibachi, teriyaki and noodle dishes. The restaurant has probably drawn such a loyal following because of its fresh, high quality ingredients and its affordable prices, including a lunch menu and kid friendly options.Yang says that there’s no specific region that they specialize in; rather, she has found inspiration in many Asian traditions. They import their tea from China, and there are many other Asian influences in their menu.
“We love making food,” she says. “We love working in restaurants. And sushi is more than just a food – it’s an art form as well.”Yang’s love of sushi is important to her for several reasons, one of which that it’s part of a more healthy lifestyle.She raves about the Wenatchee area for the same reasons: there are a lot of outdoor activities, and everyone is out enjoying them, regardless of the season.Yang draws many parallels between her childhood home in China and her home here. There’s always something to do outside, and she loves the sense of community. She’s been happy to raise her family here – they all spend time outside enjoying the many activities that North Central Washington has the offer.
“The people here are kind, helpful and have a very healthy lifestyle,” she said. “I feel like the local people treat us as part of the community.”If you’re looking for a new tradition for Christmas this year, try out Iwa Sushi. For the first time in two years, they’ve decided to be open noon to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day. They’re also open regular hours on Christmas Eve.Iwa’s regular winter hours are Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m; Fridays 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 9:30 p.m. They’re closed Sundays.To see their full menu, go to iwasushi.net.