Longtime friends and Nichiyobi owners Brandon Sheppard and Ryan Truong held their final event June 26.
Brandon Sheppard and Ryan Truong were brought together in kindergarten by fate — and because their last names were side-by-side in the alphabet.
Friends since the beginning, the duo was destined to create culinary magic together after they met for the first time in their elementary school's cafeteria. Fast forward a couple of decades, and they're closing the chapter on their first food adventure and getting ready to open the next one.
For the past six months, Sheppard and Truong have been running Nichiyobi at Bambú, a pop-up dining event held at the Truong family-owned Bamboo Garden twice a month.
"I grew up here," Ryan Truong said. "I sat in the back corner every day and did my homework. I was a dishwasher, busboy, everything."
After asking his parents how he could make more money working at the restaurant, he started learning how to cook and make sushi. Even while working at Halifax Health's nuclear medicine department, he still made time for Nichiyobi.
"Food is a big part of my life," he said. "Nichiyobi was a great way to see what people thought of our food."
As Nichiyobi's executive chef, Truong created five-course, omakase-style meals with menus changing every month. Popular dishes included Yellowfin Lotus (tuna with avocado and chipotle aioli with shrimp tips) and "Whoaaa, Bessie" (an eight-hour short rib). Sheppard, the manager/mixologist, created craft cocktails like Hibiscus Margaritas and Lychee Martinis.
Sheppard and Truong hosted a social June 26 to say farewell and thank you to the people who supported and helped them through this first part of their food journey. They're ending Nichiyobi to embark on a new sushi and izakaya — a Japanese gastropub — restaurant and are currently looking for locations.
"Nichiyobi was great in teaching us how to run a restaurant," Sheppard said. "It's a lot more work than we ever thought."
"Our goal was to build a following," Truong said as he overlooked a full restaurant. "And I guess we did just that."