Now 74, Chef Fukuyoshi continues to create some of the best at Collingswood’s Sagami the way he learned as an apprentice in the early 1970s in a New York City restaurant. Even as the Japanese dish is everywhere from four-star restaurants to food courts, it is Fukuyoshi's sushi that has Philadelphia chefs, celebrities and star athletes crossing the Delaware to savor his creations.
Shigeru Fukuyoshi and his wife, Chizuko Fukuyoshi, who manages Sagami, opened their restaurant in 1974 in a wood-paneled ice cream parlor on the Camden border. Today, the restaurant looks much the way it did during the Watergate years, set inauspiciously beside the PATCO high speed line, and separated from Collingswood’s restaurant row by the divided lanes of Route 130.
Generations of South Jerseyans and Philadelphians have sat in Sagami’s cozy wooden booths, in a space that looks much more like a 1950s ski lodge than an award-winning Japanese restaurant. (Chizuko Fukuyoshi says the first thing the new owners had to do when taking over the restaurant was to spend weeks scraping gum from beneath the tables.)
In 2017, Sagami was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation Awards.