MIDTOWN EAST — A new Teriyaki Boy restaurant focusing on lunch boxes is opening on Second Avenue, after the chain closed all five of its city outposts several years ago, the owner said.
Taiki Wakayama, the son of Teriyaki Boy’s original owner, has taken over the company and is relaunching the chain at 844 Second Ave. near 45th Street with a simpler, slightly pricier menu.
Teriyaki Boy previously offered takeout lunches, including udon bowls, bento boxes and teriyaki chicken platters as cheap as $3.99. The low prices ultimately weren't sustainable, and the chain closed all its locations by 2011, Wakayama said.
“It was a little too cheap,” he said. “Overall, especially with real estate prices going so high, it just didn’t work out.
“[This time] we decided to focus on one item and make it good,” he continued. “I want to make the best chicken teriyaki in the country.”
Teriyaki Boy — owned by Wakayama’s family company, W&E Hospitality, which also runs Udon West and restaurants in Japan — will use charcoal grills to cook the meat. The restaurant will focus on locally sourced chicken, beef and salmon teriyaki, which will come with rice and salad in yakitori lunch boxes.
Dishes will be more expensive than at the previous iteration of Teriyaki Boy but will still be less than $10, Wakayama said.
Wakayama hopes the 300-square-foot spot will become a casual after-work hangout, where customers can stop by to grab a beer and a bite before going home. There will be a standing bar, with tall tables and no chairs.
“Standing bars are a big thing in Japan right now, but we could change it depending on the demand,” Wakayama said.
The new Teriyaki Boy will start construction next week and is expected to open in mid-January.