A new sushi restaurant is to be the latest business serving up in the refurbished Victorian Market in Inverness.
And the new-look venue is providing a platform for the return of a popular attraction among Invernessians, the market’s famous model railway.
Family-run Sushi Inverness has been operating as a takeaway-only restaurant for the past seven years.
It is now preparing to open in early December to a wider foodie audience in the Victorian Market which unveiled its revamped former meat trading hall and fish hall in September.
Growing demand for sushi in Inverness
Aldona Fryc, a partner in Sushi Inverness, said the business had outgrown its home-based premises with demand growing.
“We reached capacity at home and knew we needed a venue. Going into the Victorian Market will definitely bring us to a bigger market.”
Aldona, who trained as a lawyer in Poland before moving to Inverness 16 years ago, has also worked with Highland Council.
A partner in the business is Kamil Luczak who hit the headlines after being deported despite trying in vain to save his friend falling from a bridge and drowning in the River Ness.
He returned to Inverness in 2016 after winning an appeal.
The inspiration to start a sushi business was Aldona’s daughter Basia who became interested in Japanese culture as a ten-year-old.
She is now 17, a partner in the business and about to learn Japanese.
“There is a big demand for sushi in Inverness”, says Aldona. “We have 5,000 followers on our Facebook page and have a lot of regular customers.
“Over the last seven years we’ve noticed a massive growth before Christmas so it’s a great time to start.
“The Victorian Market looks much better and is more welcoming than it was previously and it’s a really good opportunity for us.”
New arrival welcomed
The pending arrival of Sushi Inverness has been welcomed by David Haas, Highland Council’s city manager.
“We are very pleased that Sushi Inverness is adding another special, unique offer to the market.
“It will complement the excellence already in the market from the established trading businesses.
“It’s all to the good of the vibrancy of the city centre.”
Mr Haas says the new businesses in the market bring an eclectic mix of high quality offerings to the public.
“The space in the newly-refurbished hall is becoming more established day by day.
“More high quality businesses are making inquiries regularly with us and we are delighted to see this interest develop.”
The model railway previously ran around a specially-constructed track high above the shops in the Victorian Market.
Mr Haas says plans are being developed for it to make a return in the new space in the coming months.
“We are looking to see the return of the wonderful model railway in all its splendour.
“I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but you can be sure when it is reintroduced we will pay homage to the massive efforts of those who went before in the market.
“It’s going to be a lovely addition that all ages will enjoy.”
As part of a £1.6 million project, the market hall area was closed in January 2021. It has been redesigned to accommodate new food, drink and retail businesses.
What is already in the Victorian Market?
The anchor unit is Bad Girl Bakery, opening in the city for the first time, and a new sister company Good Girl Greengrocer.
The Highland Street Food Pop Up is taking outdoor catering inside, with different businesses rotating, and vegan restaurant Salt N Fire has also opened.
Moonshine, an off-licence offshoot of the Malt Room, has begun trading and will be joined shortly by the linked Inverness Whiskies.
It is hoped the new-look market will encourage more visitors and help regenerate the city centre.
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