Over the last 15 years, Robert White and Victor Litwinenko have been carving out a cozy niche for themselves at Sugar Land Town Square. They're the owners of three unique restaurants, all with a fusion twist: Japaneiro's Sushi Bistro & Latin Grill, Guru Burgers & Crepes, and Jupiter Pizza & Waffle Company.
"Fusion didn't really exist when we opened Japaneiro's," says Litwinenko, "but we wanted to offer something different to people, and diners are always looking for the next interesting thing."
And they get a delicious version of interesting at each of the duo's restaurants. Japaneiro's makes sushi approachable while blending it with South American staples (plantains pop up in several of the rolls) and offers something for everyone with chicken, steak, and salad rounding out the menu.
Guru was next, with a strong focus on local ingredients, organic meals, and conscious recycling. Jupiter came third, combining what White points out are two irresistible dishes (pizza and waffles), and cemented the team as "the fusion guys."
White, who works as an architect by day, designs the restaurants and crafts their distinctive looks, while Litwinenko handles daily operations. It's a partnership that has played to each man's strengths and is an integral part of their success.
A fourth concept — The Ginger Mule, a craft cocktail bar with comforting American classics — in Sugar Land Town Square briefly followed, and is currently being revamped with a new opening slated soon.
"What has kept us going is being very honest in what we offer and how we approach guests," says White. "We're only located in Houston — no overseas investors or outside partners — and it's always been important to us to be as local as possible."
Those strong Houston ties were reinforced following Hurricane Harvey. Litwinenko and White, brothers-in-law who originally hail from Venezuela, knew it was their duty to reinvest in their community and regularly donate to local churches and charities. Their entire staff has recently been participating in No-Shave November, with the restaurateurs donating $50 per employee to GiGi's Playhouse, the Down syndrome achievement centers.
"People are always looking for new restaurants, something that's different and exciting," says White. "Sugar Land Town Square has continually trusted us to deliver that, and we've had fun while doing it."