A recent NYT article examined the ubiquitousness of teriyaki joints in Seattle…which is apparently the nation’s teriyaki capital. The Washington State Restaurant Association has identified 83 Seattle restaurants with “teriyaki” in its name alone (not including places that just have it on their menu) — compared to a mere 40 McD’s, Burger Kings, and Wendy’s.
Photos by Michael Hansen for The NYT
Growing up in Seattle, I never noticed how common and accessible teriyaki was, until I moved away and felt something was amiss. In middle and high school, I went to the nearest Yasuko’s chain (godmother of Seattle teriyaki) to grab a big ol’ styrofoam carton of $1 rice (drizzled with the dregs of teriyaki mystery meat sauce) almost on the daily. In college I worked in a building landlady’d by the legendary Yasuko herself. Now mostly Korean-owned and operated — with a smattering of other Asian and Latin ethnicities — teriyaki joints represent the entryway into the immigrant’s American entrepreneurial dream.
It would also be interesting to find out exactly how many pho, halal, and Thai spots there are in the 206 area, as at least one of these seems to be on every block, and growing (om nom nom). I’d bet that Seatown is rising quickly in conveyor belt sushi restaurants per capita as well. The only conveyor belt sushi place I know of in New York is in the Whole Foods. Boo. As for teriyaki? I don’t even try: Yelp lists only 3 places in NYC with “Teriyaki” in the name. Sigh.