If you've been ordering teriyaki this or that around Dallas, you've probably been doing it wrong. For the right way, head to Teriyaki Madness, an Asian fusion chain that has opened its first area branch in Frisco.
Teriyaki Madness is a fast-casual concept that does West Coast-style teriyaki and other made-to-order Asian dishes. What makes it different, says owner Tim Johnson, is the cooking method.
"Not everyone is familiar with teriyaki as a concept," Johnson says. "But in places like Seattle and California, teriyaki restaurants are as common as Starbucks.
"Many of big chains who sell it as a side dish are not equipped to cook it the way it should be, which is grilled," he says. "The true Japanese style is grilled. If you don’t have teriyaki that's grilled, you don’t have teriyaki."
At Teriyaki Madness, it's also cooked to order. "It's not cooked ahead and sitting in a pan," he says. "That makes a difference in the taste. And we cut our own fresh vegetables and meat."
Although teriyaki is a Japanese dish, Teriyaki Madness does not serve sushi. The cuisine is Asian fusion, with teriyaki chicken being their most popular dish, followed by spicy chicken, orange chicken, and teriyaki beef. Most of the food is grilled, but there are a couple of fried items, including shrimp tempura and an unusual fried chicken. The menu also offers tofu dishes and soba noodles.
Johnson's branch in Frisco is the first, with more coming from other franchisees, including branches opening in Colleyville and Lewisville in mid-November. Johnson's branch is unique in that it has a pilot program in which it also offers beer and wine. The company has 17 locations in six states, including a branch in Austin, with more in the wings.
North Texas is about to become teriyaki central, as one of the major West Coast-style teriyaki chains, Denver-based Tokyo Joe's, has plans to open seven branches around Dallas, including one already open in Richardson.
Johnson has signed up to open other stores, and says he's not the company's only franchisee in North Texas. We're going to get more Teriyaki Madness.
"People who like teriyaki should ask, 'Do you grill?'" he says. "That's the difference between the true teriyaki and one that calls itself teriyaki."