Inspired by sister restaurants in Atlanta, G.A., Charleston, S.C., Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., and Washington D.C., O-Ku’s menu provides a fresh and innovative take on traditional Japanese sushi and cuisine. Located in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville, the restaurant offers rare and unique dining options with traditional sashimi and specialty rolls, highlighting seafood from the finest fish markets in Tokyo and Hawaii alongside local and seasonal ingredients.
Reminiscent of traditional Japanese culture, O-Ku’s menu is comprised of signature starters, contemporary Japanese entrees and seasonal traditional sushi that reflect the uniquely designed space. The beverage program is built around quality ingredients that celebrate Japanese culture and Nashville’s best purveyors with a sophisticated blend of specialty cocktails along with premium sake, wine and local beer selections.
Partners & Purveyors
At O-Ku, we are passionate about supporting our local farmers and fishermen and proudly showcase their bounty throughout our menu.
Green Door Gourmet
Springer Mountain Farms
Steve Palmer is the managing partner of the hospitality and consulting company, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Celebrating 10 years of service in 2019, The Indigo Road was founded in 2009 in Charleston, S.C., when Palmer began working with the celebrated restaurant Oak Steakhouse on historic Broad Street. The Indigo Road now owns and operates more than 24 concepts throughout the Southeast. These properties include O-Ku (Charleston, Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Nashville), Tiny Lou’s (Atlanta) The Cocktail Club (Charleston), The Macintosh (Charleston), Indaco (Charleston), Oak Steakhouse (Alpharetta, Ga., Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Alexandria, Va.), Colletta (Alpharetta), Mercantile and Mash (Charleston), Bar Mash (Charleston), The Cedar Room (Charleston), Town Hall (Florence, S.C.), Donetto (Atlanta) and Sukoshi (Charlotte). Several projects are also currently in the works, including Sukoshi Atlanta, Indaco in Charlotte and Colletta in Cary, N.C.
During the company’s 10th anniversary year, The Indigo Road has been named a Forbes Small Giant and landed a spot on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list, celebrating a decade of continued growth and success. In addition, The Indigo Road’s anniversary fundraiser raised $40,000 for Homeless to Hope Fund, a nonprofit supporting the homeless population in Charleston, S.C.
Palmer’s passion for and commitment to the hospitality industry has been palpable since the age of 13 and he attributes the company’s rapid growth and success to a loyal and dedicated team, maintaining the philosophy that great service starts with well cared for employees. By promoting from within and continuing to create new opportunities for his staff, Palmer has developed a strong company culture that is reflected within the walls of each of his concepts, resulting in an unwavering level of hospitality experienced by guests and patrons.
Prior to forming The Indigo Road, Palmer served as vice president of food and beverage for Ginn Clubs and Resorts. In this role, he managed 11 properties in the Southeast and the Caribbean while simultaneously developing other hospitality concepts for the company. He eventually served as the lead developer for Ginn Resorts and developed over $100 million in hotel and club space.
In 1995, Palmer was recruited as wine director and service manager of Canoe in Atlanta, which received a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant in 1996 and was also named one of the Top Five Anticipated Restaurant openings in 1995 by USA Today. Palmer returned to Charleston to become a founding partner for Eidolon, a consulting company specializing in luxury restaurants whose client list includes Planters Inn, Peninsula Grill and Hanks Seafood (the latter two are both past recipients of the Best Restaurant awards in Esquire), and 2nd Empire in Raleigh, N.C.
Palmer also worked with The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis where he co-created the largest private dining wine cellar in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain, earning praise from both Wine Spectator and Santé magazine. Palmer then returned to Charleston to become managing partner at the esteemed Peninsula Grill. Under Palmer’s management, Peninsula Grill garnered a Relais & Châteaux designation and recognition as one of the country’s best restaurants in Esquire, USA Today and Wine Spectator.
Charleston’s The Post & Courier named Palmer the second most powerful food and beverage industry player in the city, recognizing him for not only for a growing presence in the hospitality business, but also for his charitable and community efforts. Palmer is a longtime supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry and Charleston’s Feed the Need coalition, and founded Ben’s Friends, a food and beverage industry support group offering hope, fellowship and a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction, in 2016. Ben’s Friends has grown to serve over ten chapters through the United States. Palmer has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, L.A. Times, NPR, Food & Wine Magazine, Southern Living, for his work, and has presented at TEDx Charleston and various high-profile culinary events including the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Palmer’s efforts have also been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, with two nominations in the “Outstanding Restaurateur” category in 2018 and 2019.
Steve Palmer and Forbes Books will be releasing his first book, a memoir, in late fall 2019.
Kimball Brienza joins the O-Ku Atlanta team from sister restaurant, O-Ku Charleston, where he has served as general manager for five years. Now additionally serving as a managing partner for the sushi concept, Brienza will split his time between the two Indigo Road restaurants.
Throughout Brienza’s time with O-Ku Charleston, the thriving restaurant was named as one of Esquire magazine’s 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010, chosen as one of the Top 50 Hot Spot Restaurants in the nation by OpenTable in 2011 and featured as one of Travel + Leisure’s Top Sushi Restaurants in 2012.
Before joining the O-Ku team, Brienza worked with Indigo Road Restaurant Group’s Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, S.C. for two years. Prior to joining the Indigo Road family, Brienza served as dining room manager at the Boathouse after working his way up to management at Carolina’s, where he first met and worked with chef Jeremiah Bacon, now of Indigo Road’s Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh.
Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Cooperstown, N.Y., Brienza’s eclectic mix of cultures led him to attend culinary school in New York at the O.A.O.C.
Gabriel Raven is the general manager of O-Ku Nashville, part of The Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Raven joins O-Ku after serving as assistant general manager at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville for nearly two years. She relocated from Orlando in 2017 when she began her sales position with Oak Steakhouse. Shortly after, she transitioned to Assistant General Manager as a result of the restaurant’s need for hiring, training, restaurant operations, along with her high performance.
Raven earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida. Shortly after moving to Orlando, she began working at the Citrus Club, a private city club owned by Club Corp., located on the 18th floor of a high-rise in downtown Orlando. She spent five years at the Citrus Club, working her way up the ranks, from banquet captain, to sales manager, and finally dining room manager.
Raven has always had a passion for food and beverage and even considered attending culinary school. The beach will always be close to her heart but some of her hobbies in Nashville include hiking at various waterfalls, playing volleyball, baking and cooking.
Eric Lee Hill
Eric Hill is the executive chef of O-Ku Nashville, part of The Indigo Road Hospitality Group based in Charleston, and the sixth O-Ku to open, with the most recent in Raleigh, North Carolina. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Hill started with the Indigo Road Restaurant Group in June 2018 when he moved from Park City, Utah to Charleston, South Carolina where he was executive chef of O-Ku Charleston until spring of 2019, when he relocated to Nashville to open O-Ku in Germantown.
Hill has more than 11 years of experience in fine dining restaurants and luxury resorts, with experience in kitchen system integration, traditional Japanese cuisine, sushi preparation, high level banquet expertise, event planning, menu customization, cost analysis, as well as Forbes 5-star hospitality training.
Hill became passionate about Japanese cuisine after his first visit to Japan. Over the last seven years, Hill has visited the country frequently. “The culture of respect and hospitality there is like no other place in the world,” says Chef Hill. “The level of pride and dignity the people display with an almost effortless demeanor is something I strive to emulate everyday in my personal and professional life.”
Hill’s average stays last about four to five weeks during which he spends traveling and tasting the different regional cuisines. Hill has traveled extensively in Japan, from outside of Okinawa, to the frosted Onsens of Hokodate in Hokkaido, to the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing Tokyo, as well as up the Hida River and to little known towns like Gero and Takayama.
Prior to joining The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, Hill worked at Montage International Hotels and Resorts, a Forbes 5-star property, in Park City, Utah from 2012 to June 2018 where he served as Chef De Cuisine at Yama Sushi and Vista Lounge. Hill’s special event dinners and menu construction include the Robb Report for 2015 and 2016, Thai Consulate Dinner 2015, and Park City Food and Wine Grand Tasting event 2017. Hill was the winner for Best in State for 2011-2012 as the Lead Sushi Chef as part of the team at Naked Fish Japanese Bistro.
A few of his hobbies include playing golf and basketball, hiking with his girlfriend and Mini Australian Sheppard ‘Autzen,’ traveling, fly fishing, and anything that has to do with Nike and The University of Oregon athletics. Hill is also a volunteer for the Children’s Miracle Network and has served more than 250 hours of service.