Fast-casual sushi chain coming to Tenleytown

RollsByU will become Yobi when the Tenley eatery opens. (photo courtesy of RollsByU)

The fast-casual sushi restaurant Yobi — currently known as RollsByU at its locations in Arlington and Foggy Bottom — will open in Tenleytown next month, co-owner Nesrin Abaza told The Current this week.

The eatery, which offers sushi rolls and sushi “ritos” along an assembly line similar to Chipotle, will take over the 4629 41st St. NW space vacated last year by Prince Cafe. Both existing RollsByU will also change their names to Yobi — “to prepare” in Japanese — around the time the new spot opens, Abaza said.

“Some people thought you had to come in and roll your own,” Abaza said. “It was a little confusing to ourcustomers, so we decided to change the name.”

Abaza, a Kent resident, is familiar with the Tenleytown area because her children attend Georgetown Day School, which is located nearby at 4200 Davenport St. NW. Yobi will enter a crowded market for counter-service restaurants — Beefsteak, District Taco and Chick-Fil-A have all opened along Wisconsin Avenue in the last year, and Muncheez and Seoulspice are set to open at 4600 Wisconsin soon. Buredo, a more direct competitor with its signature sushi burritos, will arrive at 4235 Wisconsin later this year.

RollsByU opened in Arlington last year and at 2140 F St. NW near the George Washington University campus earlier this year. Abaza and co-owners Hillary Reyes and Leila Salim are actively seeking additional locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Abaza said.