Koji Kanematsu Brings Gourmet Rice Balls To Walnut Creek

The young onigiri chain is preparing for its newest location.
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The delicious rice balls that have taken the Bay Area by storm are finally coming to Walnut Creek.

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Onigilly owner Koji Kanematsu announced recently that he will be opening the sixth location of his gourmet rice ball eatery later this summer in Walnut Creek.

Founded in 2007, Koji started Onigilly when he visited a local elementary school and witnessed the shocking lack of nutrition in the snacks that the children were eating. Growing up as a young boy in Japan, Koji fell in love with onigiri, Japanese rice balls, and after moving to America he was disappointed to see how few Japanese restaurants offered high-quality, authentic onigiri. Seeing a need in the country for fast, delicious, and healthy snacks, Onigilly was born.

According to their website, “ONIGILLY’s mission is to introduce onigiri into the American dietary repertoire and to contribute to better eating habits nationwide,” and as they prepare to open their sixth location, it is becoming clear that Americans can’t seem to get enough of onigiri. As a graduate of the La Cocina food incubator, Koji was selected from among 30 other competing applicants to be one of the street food businesses permitted to vend at San Francisco Park Department properties.

Ever since, Onigilly has taken off like a rocket as customers flocked to the young chain for their daily dose of made-from-scratch rice balls stuffed with fillings that range from snow crab to spicy miso beef. Healthy and efficient, the balls can be easily eaten on the go without forks or chopsticks and make the perfect snack for health-conscious patrons in a hurry.

In addition to onigiri, Onigilly also serves fuller dishes like rice bowls and poke bowls for patrons with an appetite. The new location will be opening up at 1372 Locust Street, the current home of De Afghanan Kabob House. According to Koji, plans are in place to open the new location in late August.

Jake Rogers

Jake Rogers is an author and playwright based out of Brooklyn, New York. A lively performer who is deeply passionate about history and literature, outside of his reporting he also produces short films and plays with his theatre troupe, the LSTC. He is currently producing a web series about a butterfly and moth who are roommates that will be released later in the year.
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