Nobu: The Restaurant That Almost Wasn’t

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Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Photo: Getty Images

Nobu Matsuhisa recalls the beginnings of his career for Fortune Small Business, but of interest to us is his initial rejection of a partnership offer from Robert De Niro. “I flew out to see the building he had bought — a big, warehouselike place — and stayed three or four days. He showed me the location again and started talking about the dream. But after all my bad experiences, I wasn't quite ready to take on another business partner. I agonized for a few days before thanking him and turning him down; he said he understood. And each time he visited L.A., he would stop by Matsuhisa and ask how I was doing.” It would be another four years before the two would open Nobu. “I started to think,” said the chef, “if he believes in me this much to wait for me all these years, then maybe he would be a good business partner.”

How Chef Nobu Built His Sushi Empire [Fortune Small Business]