A Case of Two Stolen Restaurant Identities: Fake Blowfish and Wagyumafia in SF

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The sign at the original Blowfish on Bryant. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The Wagyumafia cutlet sandwich. Photo via @wagyumafia on Instagram.

In Tamara Palmer’s most recent column for 48 Hills, she mentioned how she was unknowingly scammed by a business masquerading as the cult favorite Wagyumafia from Japan on Doordash, supposedly offering their famed wagyu sandwich for delivery for $180 (she opted for a $35 A5 wagyu nigiri set instead). After posting her pictures on Instagram, she was contacted by Wagyumafia that it wasn’t them, and was an imposter! (Wagyumafia was planning to open in SF after running a collaborative pop-up with the Omakase Restaurant Group a couple years ago, but things didn’t move forward and they focused on New York instead.)

My curiosity was piqued, and I took a closer look at the SF wagyu mafia page on Doordash, which listed Blowfish Sushi on Mission as their address. I headed over to the Blowfish web page, which had this message: “Blowfish Sushi Is still closed, The restaurant running at 2193 mission st, is an Fake copy of Blowfish Sushi in our old location. This place is illegal and NOT run or operated by ANYONE from the original Blowfish Company. We are in the proccess of correcting this and look forward to rebuiliding Blowfish Sushi as soon as it is safe and Logical.” So, not only was the Wagyumafia concept a fake, but a business listed as Blowfish Sushi on Mission on Doordash was also a fake? Whut? Things suddenly got very fishy.

Last week, I was able to get in touch with founding Blowfish partner (since 1996!) Jason Teplitsky, who explained this Mission Street location was the second location they opened after closing their original Bryant Street location, and it was only open from November 2019 until the stay-at-home order in March 2020. He said they had to close the business and surrender the lease due to the grim takeout situation and focus on their Iza Ramen staff and business instead—his business partner is Ritsuo Tsuchida, and it ends up Julian Lennon is another partner (some fun trivia for you). Teplitsky said they left the Blowfish sign up, partly because it was the early stage of the pandemic and they couldn’t really find anyone to take it down.

He has been trying to contact the new owner, and paid a visit to the fake Blowfish this last Friday and confronted the staff, demanding to see the owner. Teplitsky, with his blustery Ukrainian manner, ended up scaring the staff and the police were called. (Hey, the guy needs answers.) The team has claimed the landlord was okay with them assuming the Blowfish identity, and even tried to blame Teplitsky for leaving the sign up as an invitation to take over the business. (Yes, these people are crazy.)

Teplitsky told me he even ordered delivery to see how the food was (the menu is wildly extensive)—he said the sushi was poorly cut and not even placed on the rice correctly, so whoever is so keen on stealing his identity doesn’t even have any skilled talent in the kitchen.

Teplitsky is currently contacting Grubhub, Postmates, and Doordash (which even uses the Blowfish logo!), trying to get these fake pages down since he still owns the copyright. He’s also contacting the landlord, and is looking into legal action against the imposters. I’ll keep you posted on any developments. How’s all this for one big caveat emptor if you like to order delivery? 2193 Mission St. at 18th St.