Savoring the Madness: American and Japanese Flavors Meet at The Madness Sushi & Burger Bar

October 4, 2023

The Madness Sushi & Burger Bar stands at the crossroads of American comfort food and Japanese culinary artistry. Owner & Chef Aaron Cheng envisioned a place where the boundaries between sushi and burgers are blurred. 

“It is Madness to have even considered a burger/sushi restaurant,” Aaron says, “but now this ‘Madness’ is a reality.”

His inspiration came from years of working in Asian fusion restaurants. Observing the dilemma of customers torn between sushi and burgers, he decided to offer both worlds on a single plate. With menu items like the Madness Burger – served with spicy crab and a crab roll on top – a dish that represent the epitome of this delightful fusion.

Check out our full Q&A with Aaron below…

Tell us about your business and the role you play in it. 

We are a American/Japanese Fusion restaurant, combining the best of both worlds, offering both Burgers and Sushi creations to our Asheville locals and Visitors.

As a Sushi Chef, I have seen so many different Asian fusion restaurants , but never a American/Japanese fusion restaurant, so the idea came to mind of offering both styles to satisfy both cravings, when one cannot decide or need to worry about too much food. So I am happy that I was able to make this fusion style a reality for all to enjoy.

Tell us about your company culture.

Friendly and great service, great employees and food.

We always try to make sure customers leave happy and if they aren’t, we do whatever is within out powers to make it right.

What is your company’s relationship with the community?

We support local schools and their booster clubs, such as Enka High school for our Smokey Park Location, as well as hire local university students to help them pursue their passion for study.

What does “hospitality” mean to you?

Great Food and Service with a smile. A smile goes a long way for a customer, especially when they are having a bad day, a smile, some small and great food can make someone’s day all the more better and help them forgot the kind of day they were having before they walked into our restaurant.

What experiences do you strive to create for your customers?

Inviting and comfortable environment, so they are able to really enjoy their food and stay, so they do not feel that they need to rush.

What’s been your company’s most innovative idea?

The Madness Burger and Bento Boxes. Both involve a mix both American/Japanese sushi. Our Madness Burgers include spicy crab and a crab roll on top with the 100% certified angus patty (or Beyond Patty as a substitution) and our Bento boxes, are for those that do not want the food to be mixed but put in separate compartments, so they are still able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?

The smiles on customers faces when they leave our restaurant. It brings a warm feeling to the heart, when you know that you made someone’s day all the more better.

How did you come up with your idea or concept for your business? How did you decide on a name?

I’ve seen and worked in tons of Asian fusion restaurants over the years, but have never seen a American/Japanese Style Fusion restaurant before. In my experience there has also been many times were a customer was worried about ordering more than what was needed, so I wanted to create a solution to their dilemma. Hence, The Madness Sushi, Burger & Bar was born. 

The name speaks for it self, it is Madness to have even considered a burger/sushi restaurant, but now this “Madness” is a reality.

How many employees do you have? And what qualities do you look for when hiring?

At our Merrimon Ave location, we currently have 14-16 employees and at our Smokey Park location we currently have 19-21 employees. 

Some qualities that we look for are hard working, open to constructive criticism that can help them improve and a great attitude/personality. As we all know, working in the restaurant industry is very hard and some days even extremely difficult, not everyday is going to be a walk in the park.

During your first year of business, what was the greatest lesson you learned?

Our first year of business was during the peak of COVID, which was hard, but we were able to preserver and stay open, which during this time there were a lot of business that were impacted by it. But thankfully our customer stuck with us during these hard times as we were able to offer take out and put in safety measures to keep our customer and employees safe during this time. 

Greatest lesson that I’ve learned, is that not everything is going to happen the way you envision and to be creative when something hits you hard by working with your team to make it happen.

Where do you see your business in the next year? The next five?

We are hoping to maintain our current customers and increase our customer base and to become one of the top restaurants to dine-in for locals and for visitors, to further get our name out there. 

Next 5 years, is hard to see sometimes in the restaurant business, but our hope is to still remain here for the next foreseeable future. Our next step is to further fine tune our food and drink selections and make it known to the community that we also provide further services, such as catering for events.

Why did you decide to join the Chamber?

To further get our name out to the community and out of town visitors and to increase the tourism in the area, which will not only help us but other local business as well.

What is your favorite part about doing business in the Asheville area?

The many different types of personalities and the lively and open-minded people that live here.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your business?

As we are still a fairly new business, I would like to encourage all to support local businesses.