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The Man Who Blesses the Sushi

We have a sushi-blesser.  Yes, we said SUSHI BLESSER.  booyah!

His head occasionally peeks over the massive sushi counter at Newport Avenue Market, checking out the scene and the people milling around. You’ll instantly be privy to his infectious smile and an enthusiastic greeting. Morris is always happy to see you.


Morris has been the creator of amazing sushi for Newport Market for twelve years. He has grown the sushi department to the finest in Bend, often selling out of rolls by the middle of the day. Morris’ creations are nothing short of miniature mouthwatering masterpieces.

His path, however, is even more extraordinary.

Morris (his Burmese name is Myint Thar) grew up in Myanmar, graduating from Yangon (Rangoon) University in 1969 with a degree in Psychology. After college, he began working for a textile manufacturer where he was the liaison between the factory and the German technicians arriving on a frequent basis.  With evening classes at the Foreign Language Institute and three cassette tapes, Morris learned to speak fluent German and was instrumental in helping the technicians work their way through Myanmar’s rigorous customs process.

Eventually, the 18-hour days began to take their toll on Morris. In 1980, Morris joined the United Nations Development program as an administrative assistant. During that time, Myanmar was becoming an increasingly difficult place to live as its citizens fought for democracy. In 1989, Morris left his country and began a series of fascinating jobs around the world with the United Nations. His career history includes monitoring and supporting UN doctors in Afghanistan for the World Health Organization, coordinating vaccination campaigns for veterinary clinics in Afghanistan for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and assisting the World Food Programme in Afghanistan and Tajikistan during critical winter months. East Timor rounded out his World Food Programme career as he assisted with Venerable Group Feeding and Food for Work programs. Throughout all of the action in a tumultuous world, a strong chanting and meditation practice kept Morris centered as he served others.

Morris came to America in 2002. He fell in love with the United States and decided that he wanted to stay; he just needed to find a job. One day, a friend called him about an opportunity in Bend, Oregon as a sushi chef. “But I don’t know how to make sushi,” was Morris’ reply. That didn’t matter and in a period of two weeks, Morris was trained in the art of sushi. Determined to excel at his job, Morris would go home each evening and practice his rolling skills on the kitchen table with a bamboo mat, chopsticks, salt and pepper packets, and a towel.

For twelve years, Morris has been working with Newport Avenue Market. From the very beginning, he has understood the significance of knowing employees and customers. He knows how to make people feel important.

Morris takes everything a step further, however. Annually, he temporarily ordains as a Theravada Buddhist monk at various Burmese monasteries for 10-30 days, where chanting is an integral part of life. When he returns to Bend, he chants whenever he can, as it focuses his mind for meditation. Each morning, as he walks to work, Morris chants loudly, toning it down to soft chanting (almost a whisper) when he arrives at Newport Avenue Market. Often, he will make nine rounds through the store (nine is a sacred number in Buddhism), chanting as he goes and sending blessings out to the people of Bend.


What does he chant?

“May all beings be happy. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be liberated from all miseries.”

Morris infuses his sushi creations with goodwill towards all people and wishes for a prosperous future. Each cut of each roll gets a specific blessing and is filled with loving-kindness.

Morris notes that he used to work for a living. Now, he works for the people of Bend. He is dedicated to evolving sushi based on feedback from customers. In Morris’ sushi, you will find an abundance of fresh, high-quality ingredients. He experiments with interesting toppings. Every detail is intentional, just like how he chooses to be in the world.

His unspoken mantra?

Bless first. Be grateful. Make good sushi.

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14 thoughts on “The Man Who Blesses the Sushi

  1. Ed Endsley says:

    Blessings Morris! Congratulations on your amazing journey! Thank you for being here! Thank you for excellent sushi! Peace.

    • Newportavemarket says:

      Yes, Morris was trained in a short time, with many years to follow of perfecting his art, with on going training throughout the years, as well as visiting other sushi establishments and their chefs. He works with AFC and our Director of Fresh regarding the quality of ingredients. Also, Morris and his team make our sushi fresh, every day, twice a day. I hope this helps. -Lauren

  2. Trish Smith says:

    What a wonderful story! I really appreciate NAM’s great people and it’s delightful to hear their back-stories! Grazie!

  3. rachel says:

    Morris is one of the reasons why I’ll spend a little more for all the groceries I buy and will shop at Newport even though the parking is often really challenging. Also, I would like to give a standing ovation, while I’m praising ya’ll, to Chatty Mike in produce. He’s always given us the best service. About a year or so ago, I asked why you guys didn’t stock the 1 lb organic spinach. He said he’d check. A week later, no really, a WEEK later, there was 1 lb organic spinach in the cooler. It’s about $3 more than Safeway’s but having Mike’s service is worth it. Whether or not Chatty Mike made this spinach magically appear or not, I don’t care. He listened when I asked. Also, thanks a bunch for getting Hail Merry raw treats in the store. Saves me all that pesky driving to the east side.

  4. Sue says:

    We love Newport Avenue Market and we love Morris – almost 10 years ago I had a prolonged illness during my son’s birthday and was unable to do our traditional sushi birthday dinner. I called Morris who loved that my kids loved his sushi and told him my predicament – he created an unbelievable sushi platter with special birthday rolls (all my son’s favs) he DOES understand making the customer feel important as does the rest of the NAM crew! Blessings to Morris! Thanks for sharing his fabulous journey with us

  5. Chris Schroeder Fain says:

    Morris your smile always lights up the day. Your blessings are felt and you are one of the many reasons that make Newport Market such a special place in our community. Blessing back to you Morris!

  6. Ed Endsley says:

    I’m disappointed… I really enjoyed Morris’s story and tried some sushi. I bought a rather expensive shrimp roll and discovered it contains yellow #5 & 6… This is unconscionable in this age of awareness! The ingredients label was obscured by a black pen indicating the “style” of sushi so I couldn’t read some of the other ingredients… It was my mistake to purchase this without reading the small print but I don’t think it’s a good idea to be subjecting your customers to these synthetic materials that are widely know to be detrimental to health and are banned in other countries. Please reconsider.

    • newportavemarket says:

      Thank you for getting in contact with us regarding the sushi you bought. We will stop writing on the label so as not to inadvertently cover up ingredients. Regarding the added colorants, those are ingredients that are found in the wasabi that is sourced. Until another wasabi source is found we will continue to list these ingredients so that you can make a choice of purchasing items with these ingredients.


  7. Meg says:

    The Quinoa and Brown Rice combo adds great texture! The Quinoa brings a subtle nutty flavor that really compliments both the seafood AND the Veggie Rolls.

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