Tucson fans of Marana’s popular Sushi Cortaro Japanese restaurant had a request of manager Ken Lin: Why don’t you open something closer to us in central Tucson?

In October, they got their wish.

Lin quietly converted his family’s Asian-centric East Buffet at 75 W. River Road, off North Stone Avenue, into Sushi Cortaro On River, a larger version of the popular eatery that Derek Cheng opened in late 2010 at 8225 N. Courtney Page Way, off Interstate 10 and Cortaro Road.

“The kitchen chef had family issues and he flew back to New York. So we thought maybe we would try something new,” Lin said of the River Road restaurant Wednesday as the lunchtime rush filled the dining room with chattered conversations and clanking dishes.

Sushi Cortaro On River is near Tucson Mall, tucked into a strip plaza anchored by Scordato’s Pizzeria on one corner and Taco Tote on the other. The restaurant seats 193 and part of the space has been repurposed for storage to create the more intimate ambiance of the Marana restaurant, Lin said.

The menu at the River Road location is the same as in Marana, as are the daily specials: Half-priced sushi rolls at lunchtime from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. The daily all-you-can-eat sushi is $23.95 a person.

Sushi Cortaro On River is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and until 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday it’s open from noon to 9:30 p.m.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch