Nick Spiak was a visionary in the late ’70s when he hauled grouper from the coast to upstate South Carolina restaurants. Flounder, king crab and scallops were the mainstays of menus alongside steak and potatoes. But Spiak persuaded former Greenville restaurateur Vince Perone to give grouper a chance. He was soon hauling fresh fish from the coast on ice in coolers, in the back of a pick-up.
In the beginning, he made deliveries to 12 customers. Today, nine boxy, refrigerated seafood trucks with G.U.S.T.O. on the side deliver seafood to 165 restaurants. Your favorite seafood comes by truck or plane from not only the Carolina coast, but from Boston, New Zealand and South America, where it was either farm-raised or caught at sea.
Because his father emigrated from Ukraine, Spiak dreamed up the name “Great Ukrainian Trucker of Seafood” for his new company. Thankfully, his wife, Gladys, pointed out the acronym would read GUTS. So the name became, “Great Ukrainian Seafood Trucking Outfit – G.U.S.T.O.”
While visiting Hawaii in the early ‘80s, Spiak was introduced to sushi and fell in love with it. In 1997, he decided to create a separate sushi business and Sushi with Gusto was born. In the span of almost 20 years, Sushi with Gusto’s sushi bars have flourished with more than 300 today. Although operated by independent contractors, each chef is trained by executive chef, Hisamichi Fujimura (Fuji), at the company’s headquarters in Greer, South Carolina. The sushi bars are located throughout the country in grocery stores, university and health care facility food courts and dining halls.
Spiak gives a great deal of credit for Sushi with Gusto’s success to Fuji with his tireless efforts to create our signature recipes that offers our customers the best tasting sushi in the market today.
Spiak’s son, Nick III, managed the seafood side of the business while his father focused on building the sushi business. He then joined Sushi with Gusto in 2003 and is vice president of sales today.
It has been a long road since those first years of G.U.S.T.O., hauling fish from the coast to deliver to upstate South Carolina restaurants, but it is very rewarding to look back and see the success that Sushi with Gusto has achieved today.
Our mission is to bring joy to customers by offering them the best retail sushi available in the United States, through our sushi bars in grocery stores, universities, and hospitals. Our love of this beautiful food inspires us to create economic opportunity for everyone involved in our business operations—our franchisees, hosts, employees, and vendors.