For most companies, staying fresh is vital to staying relevant.
Since 2005, Gaurav Patel has done both, turning a single restaurant into a hospitality group of six eateries that have a variety of concepts.
That mix ranges from steak and seafood and English pub fare to American classics and sushi, and includes Raleigh restaurants The Oxford, Cameron Bar and Grill, Faire, Mura and Zinda, along with Patel's newest spot, Basan Bull City Sushi, his first Durham restaurant and third to focus on Japanese cuisine.
"Opening Basan has been easy because we have two sushi restaurants in our portfolio," said Patel, hospitality group Eschelon Experiences' founder and president. "We are always trying to take something we've already done and then expanding and elevating the dining experience from the one we did before."
Basan focuses on fresh, West Coast Japanese-style hot dishes and sushi that Patel said are fried less and use less mayonnaise and cream cheese.
The restaurant's sushi bar offers more than 20 types of specialty rolls that include the Pink Dragon with spicy kanikama salad, avocado, cucumber and seared salmon on top; the Ozeki with hamachi, gari, kani, masago and jalapeno; and the Bonsai that's made with avocado, broccoli, carrot, asparagus and tempura green beans.
Patel, who said Basan will also have traditional rolls such as the California, plans to rotate rolls based on what's popular with the locals.
"This is our first run," Patel said. "We will see what the palate in Durham is like and go from there."
Basan serves lunch and dinner that include dishes such as spicy miso ramen, beef wrapped asparagus, salads, soups, tsukune, pork belly and edamame.
The restaurant's lunch service is what Patel calls "fast and efficient," allowing customers to get in and out quickly, he said.
The bar focuses on local craft beers and breweries such as Lonerider, Fullsteam, Big Boss, Natty Greene's, Triangle and Raleigh Brewing Company. Basan's six taps will rotate and always be local, Patel said.
Along with beer, the restaurant carries more than 20 types of sake, wine and signature cocktails that use liquors such as Yamakazi Japanese Whiskey and Bulleit Bourbon.
Patel aims to keep Basan's prices low as a way to entice customers to try different hot plates. Lunch ranges from about $4 for soup and edamame to about $20 for a sushi combo.
The dinner menu runs from about $4 to about $14. Most items are less than $10.
Sushi starts around $9.
Basan is 6,600 square feet and includes the main restaurant, a private dining space and a soon-to-open lounge with low tables and six sectional couches where customers will be able to order small plates.
The sushi bar seats 11, about 13 can sit at the main bar, the lounge holds about 20 and the restaurant seats about 140.
Patel also plans to open an outdoor patio in about a month, a space that he says will be "one of the best patios" at the American Tobacco Campus.
Patel and his team, who just opened steak and seafood restaurant Faire in September, are glad to have expanded into Durham, but plan to slow down and enjoy what they've created before moving on to their next concept - whatever it may be.
"I think we have a really creative team within our home office. We are all very young and we love to create things," Patel said. "We are always challenging ourselves. We love just talking about different things and experiences."
Basan Bull City Sushi is at 359 Blackwell St., Suite 220, between the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the Durham Performing Arts Center in American Tobacco's Diamond View III.