TWO similar restaurants are getting ready to go head-to- head.
Emma Graveney wanted to be the first to open a traditional Sushi bar in the heart of Cheltenham. A year ago, it occurred to her that there was a niche in the town's market to sell the delicacy.
In the months that followed, she then took cooking classes and practiced the art of sushi rolling to make sure she got her menu just right.
Now, as she finally gets ready to open KOBUIsushi, in Regent Street, she will have to fight off tough competition as international chain Yo!Sushi opens its doors today.
"I just thought the place needed one," said Emma. "It is such a vibrant town and there wasn't a sushi bar when I moved here three years ago. I think competition will be good for business. Hopefully a chain like YO! Sushi will raise awareness about our food. There is definitely room for two."
The restaurant is based where the former Cafe Rubik was located before its closure. Emma, who has owned restaurants in Brighton and also Chelsea and Kensington, is going into business with head chef Dan Richards, who formerly worked at Armagnac Restaurant in Montpellier, and Yu Wang, the former sushi chef at Soushi in Cirencester.
"It will be a very traditional sushi bar," continued Emma. "I think people are more open to trying different foods and are becoming more experimental. It has been a long process to get it up and running but we hope to open soon."
Both restaurants arrive at a time when the University of Gloucestershire has said it wants to attract more international students.
A spokesman for YO! Sushi said: "There has been incredible demand for (a sushi bar) in Cheltenham, which has made our decision all the more easy to make. Having another sushi restaurant opening at the same time is just a sign of how tastes in the UK are changing and developing which is a really positive step.
"We look forward to introducing Cheltenham to a new dining experience and becoming a part of the local restaurant scene."