Shima temporarily closed for reno

May 7—Downtown Japanese restaurant Shima Sushi Bar & Grill is getting ready to start another chapter in its over two-decade-long existence.

The local hibachi and sushi spot got its start on the north side of town in what had previously been a Hardee's at the corner of North Columbia Street and Roberson Mill Road. The name was different at that time as the restaurant first went by the moniker Kuroshika. Former owners the Park family relocated the business to West Hancock Street in 2006, making it a walkable destination for bento box-loving college students as well as downtown workers. With that move came the name change to Kuroshima.

When Milledgeville transplant Ivan Manoylov purchased the business in September 2021, the decision was made to do what many locals had already been doing, which was shorten the name to Shima.

While the sign out front changed, everything looked very much the same from a diner's perspective while the Baldwin High and Georgia College & State University graduate Manoylov got his feet wet as a restaurant owner.

Now a few years in to its new period of ownership, Shima is undergoing a transformation. The doors were closed Monday so contractors could begin extensively renovating the restaurant dually-located at 138 and 140 W. Hancock St. in the heart of downtown.

"We want to have a space that people are excited about and want to hang out in," Manoylov said. "We want to update the space and build on what Kuroshima, now Shima, has been in the past."

Manoylov told the newspaper that the aim is to have everything completed just after Memorial Day. "Everything" being new booths, tables and chairs; taking out the existing sushi bar and putting a new one in the back corner opposite the restrooms; adding a second bar with seating where drinks will be served; and removing the faux-brick walls since there's already a downtown restaurant famous for the brick motif. The bathrooms will be redone as well, and new flooring will address one of the building's quirks. Manoylov said the space was formerly split in two. When they were opened into one, one side of the floor was higher than the other, which presented a tripping hazard.

"We'll be getting rid of that and leveling out the two sides of the floor," the Shima owner said.

The front of the building will be painted as part of the work. Manoylov said the new color scheme will be off-white with gray accents.

"It's definitely going to be a more modern look," said Manoylov. "We appreciate the support from the community and the excitement we've felt from people in talking about the renovation. We look forward to offering a new Shima experience for everyone."