Aaron Cheng, at just 29, has an entire portfolio of restaurants to his name.

In Asheville, where he’s now a full-time resident, he’s opened two locations of Yum Sushi Burrito and Poke. He’s since opened another in Johnson City, Tennessee, and has plans for more.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he also launched a whole new concept: The Madness Sushi, Burger and Bar, at 275 Smokey Park Highway. 

It’s been so popular that Cheng will add a new location in late summer at 1020 Merrimon Ave., the former site of Early Girl North and, before that, Ambrozia. 

The Hong Kong-born Cheng, who moved stateside at 8 years old, was raised in a family where the food business was central.

From left: Manager Victoria Dillard and owner Aaron Cheng pose inside of The Madness Sushi Bar and Burger on Friday, April 23, 2021. At 29 years old, Cheng currently owns several restaurants.

After launching a few Chinese buffets and takeout restaurants, his parents and extended family found success with the Cajun seafood restaurant Surfing Crab, which has multiple locations in Texas and continues to grow. 

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But Cheng, who has worked in kitchens in sushi restaurants and American grills to add more to his culinary tool box, is driven to create more modern concepts, he said.