How Ogden’s Tona Sushi Creates Artistic Diversity With Every Dish

One Ogden’s sushi chef’s innovative plates hint at his design background — while serving dishes that aim to be “magical.”

Written By Karen Bayard

Ogden’s Tona Sushi serves up artfully-plated dishes using the freshest ingredients. Okay, most Utah visitors might not guess they would find first-rate sushi in this landlocked state, but they’d be wrong. Here at Tony and Tina Chen’s place, it’s not just your palate that will be surprised, but also your eyeballs. Since opening, Tona Sushi has become a must-visit if you’re hungry for some of the best sushi in Utah. 

That’s because this Ogden sushi bar is the inspiration of Tony Chen, who trained as an architect. During his studies in San Francisco, Chen worked at a Japanese restaurant, where he loved the clean, flavorful food. Living in that diverse city led Tony Chen, who is Chinese, to explore different cultures. He says the food offered the opportunity to study culture, fashion, flavors and people. 

In 2004, Tony and his wife and business partner, Tina, moved to Utah, a place that some people mistakenly believe to be homogeneous. At first, Tony Chen considered himself an outsider until he realized that food was a way to learn how to settle into his new home. 

In the kitchen, Tony maintains his precise, artistic eye. He will often first design what he wants his food to look like on paper, just as he drew building details during his architectural studies. His thoughtfulness and care led to colorful designs on paper and masterful, vibrant works of art on the plate. His colorful dishes invite conversation.

Food is magical, Tony believes. The dishes in his restaurant — think sauteed garlic edamame, Grinch Rolls and Yam Yam Rolls — are filled with colors, textures and flavors that capture a whole world on one plate. Imagine the inspiration sparked by so many elements coming together. Imagine what Tony shares about culture through his food. 

Imagine the magic of cultural connection available with every dish.

"Food is magical, Tony believes. And the dishes in his restaurant are filled with colors, textures and flavors that seem to capture a whole world on one plate."

The name Tona is a combination of both Tony and Tina, owners of Tona Sushi.

Photo: Andrew Burr

Chef Tony Chen often first designs on paper what he wants his food to look like.

Photo: Andrew Burr

Most Utah visitors might not guess they would find first-rate sushi in this land-locked state, but they’d be wrong.

Photo: Andrew Burr

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