‘It was time to jump on that opportunity’: Santa Rosa resident opens sushi restaurant at 18 years old

6 January 2023

The conventional wisdom holds that teenagers spend too much time on the internet and not enough time learning. It also holds that the path to success in business goes through college.

But Robert Phouthavong is laying waste to those ideas.

The 18-year-old Santa Rosa High School graduate opened his first restaurant, Makizushi, just before Christmas, and he’s setting his sights on more.

He began working in a Sebastopol sushi restaurant with his father at age 15, and used popular platforms like YouTube and TikTok to research what it would take to open his own establishment, how to pass inspections and how to apply for permits and licenses.

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