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New restaurant WeRoll Nori, offering onigiri and hand rolls, opens in Westwood

Pictured is WeRoll Nori. The onigiri and hand roll restaurant is located on Le Conte Avenue. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

By Gabby Jamall

Sept. 25, 2023 12:23 p.m.

This post was updated Sept. 27 at 10:31 p.m.

WeRoll Nori, a new onigiri and hand roll restaurant on Le Conte Avenue, is bringing a new dining experience to Westwood.

The restaurant is co-owned and managed by wife and husband Jenny Ho and Simon Chan and had its grand opening Aug. 18.

WeRoll Nori offers a wide selection of onigiri and hand rolls, including 14 different filling options for its onigiri, according to the restaurant’s website. Customers have the option of purchasing a single onigiri for $3.99 or boxed combos that range from $12.25 to $19.75.

Onigiri is a triangle-shaped Japanese rice ball that encloses a cooked filling, Ho said. She added that the onigiri has been very popular with the restaurant’s customer base so far.

“I think it’s really easy to accept because it’s not just during the meal, lunch or dinner, but it’s throughout the day,” she said. “It’s like a snack.”

Ho and Chan have been in the restaurant business for over 23 years, with WeRoll Nori being their 10th restaurant opening. Their other restaurants include the Basil Restaurant sushi bar and Asian bistros in North Dakota and Colorado.

Ho added that this is their first casual fast-food dining project, designed to fit the needs of community members who want an efficient, convenient dining option.

(Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)
WeRoll Nori has over 14 different options of fillings for its onigiri. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

Ho said she and Chan chose to open a restaurant in Westwood after years of spending time in the area. She added that she and Chan were attracted to the area because of its community and energy.

“We feel like it would be very needed in this area because a lot of students and people that work in the hospital, they want something fast, quick,” she said.

Crystal Rivera, a first-year nursing student, said the restaurant’s reasonable pricing makes it unique and different from other restaurants in Westwood.

“I don’t think there’s anything like this,” she said. “It’s just comparable to KazuNori, and that’s super expensive, so (it’s) an affordable option.”

Rivera said WeRoll Nori’s optimal location and novelty initially drew her to try the restaurant.

“I know from working here, you get really tired of everything being kind of repetitive, so I’m like, ‘Oh, new place? Got to try it,’” she said.

Rachel Lee, a second-year design media arts student, said the prime location of WeRoll Nori on the edge of campus makes it very appealing and likely to last.

“It’s the first thing you see when you’re walking into Westwood,” Lee said. “You’re very intrigued by the storefront, so I see it staying here for a long time.”

This storefront has seen the loss of several businesses in the past, including most recently the Uranus 27 boba tea business.

Ho said she was made aware of the quick turnover of businesses at this spot. However, she added that her and Chan’s experience in the restaurant industry, coupled with their emphasis on high-standard service and taste, makes her hopeful that WeRoll Nori will be successful.

“It’s all about the quality of food and your service,” she said. “These are the two things that we expect from ourselves and also from our staff and from our team.”

Currently, WeRoll Nori does not offer any student discounts or deals for members of the UCLA community. However, Ho said there are plans in the near future to offer promotions and work with UCLA once the business is more established.

For now, Ho said that she and her team are focusing on delivering the highest caliber of both quality and customer service for their patrons.

“We love the fact that we’re here, we’re able to provide something, and for someone, that when they walk out of our restaurant, they’re happy, they have a smile on their face,” Ho said. “And this is the biggest reward for us.”

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