Canberrans returning to work at the start of the year who frequent Manuka for lunch would have undoubtedly noticed something amiss, with Mee’s Sushi Manuka having temporarily closed.
The lines of eager Mee’s customers stretching along the footpath on Flinders Way at lunchtime every weekday have been noticeably absent this year.
A sign that’s been on the door since they closed over Christmas on 21 December explains their flagship store will reopen as soon as “the new management team is ready”, with the institution up for sale after 18 years of serving their popular fare.
Owners Mee and her husband, Jong, both in their sixties, have decided it’s time to retire and take a well-earned break.
In the meantime, their daughter is running their Brindabella store, and the City West store will reopen at the end of January.
“There are many customers very anxious for the Manuka store to reopen and we’re working out a way to ensure that can happen sooner rather than later,” Summit Business Brokers’ Andrew Nuttall told Canberra Weekly.
Selling for $1,395,000 plus SAV, Mr Nuttall said one of the keys to Mee’s success is the simplicity of their operation, paired with their workflow, use of premium produce, and capacity to consistently make a high-quality product.
“Being a business broker, I see all sorts of hospitality businesses, many unique in their own right,” he said.
“What (Mee’s) do differently is very high-quality produce to provide a very authentic experience.
“They do it in a way that’s been highly successful for 18 years, they haven’t changed the formula, and it continues to be an institution because people are assured of quality standards day in day out.”
And while taking over a celebrated business like Mee’s Sushi Manuka could be intimidating for an incoming owner, Mee has personally promised to provide full training of the entire business operation as part of the sale.
“They want the Mee’s institution to run for many decades to come, that’s why she’s prepared to put in the effort … to ensure the incoming owner has the necessary skills to ensure the quality remains exactly the same,” Mr Nuttall said.
According to Mr Nuttall, the most important aspect from a culinary perspective is the knife skills to cut the chicken and salmon.
“The tuna they make, prawns same deal, but chicken and salmon have to be cut just right,” he said.
With Mee’s Sushi Manuka having been listed for sale since before Christmas, Mr Nuttall said he’s had some “very solid enquiry” and is confident it “won’t be too long” before he finds the right person to take over.
“I’m one of their very loyal customers, I go there with my daughters after school,” he said. “I’ve got a vested interest in finding the right buyer.”