Establishments: SUSHISAMBA, Sugarcane Lounge, Gasoline Gallery
Locations: New York City, Miami, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Las Vegas
What he’s done: Bokovza was bitten by the hospitality bug when he built Israel’s first ski resort at age 21. Motivated by success, he entered the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell. He went on to open restaurants Harvest and Apropos in Philadelphia, Amazon Village in New York and several other venues that merged food and entertainment. In 2000, he launched SUSHISAMBA—a six-unit concept that celebrates Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine in a spirited setting. “My vision has always been to combine the cultural and the culinary; to add extra elements to the restaurant experience.”
His latest project: “Street food” and “street music” star at SUSHISAMBA; next is “street art.” “We’ve been bringing Graffiti Gone Global to Art Basel Miami [a yearly art fair], and now we’re opening a permanent space, Gasoline Gallery,” Bokovza reports.
Why we like him: The most rewarding part of his job is seeing satisfied guests come back again and again—some who visited as children now bringing their babies. “Customer happiness is such an important part of the equation.”
What’s next? Develop Sugarcane as a successful brand extension. It perfectly fits Bokovza’s vision and the times: lower price points, earthy South American tapas menu, large rum selection and that signature SUSHISAMBA spirit. –patricia cobe