Island Teriyaki Xpress revamps food truck staples
As owner Shawn Whittington founded Island Teriyaki in 2013 as a food truck, perhaps it’s not surprising that the eatery would move to a new location. Renamed Island Teriyaki Xpress, the new location is focused exclusively on takeout and will soon offer delivery to the Hurricane area.
Whittington is hoping to expand the restaurant concept for franchising in the future. The restaurant had been running off limited hours in its new location before returning to full hours in late October.
“The original business plan when we started the truck was to open a restaurant within two to three years. We diverged from the original plan. Originally we were just going to do takeout like the truck. I felt like I stuck into having a sit-down restaurant at the old location because of the size of the space we had there,” Whittington said.
“We have been in business in the old location for about two years when I looked at the overhead and decided to move on a pure cost decision. There was a Chinese restaurant that closed in July and I talked to the landlords. It took us about four weeks to work out the deal. We remodeled everything up front. Everything you see was refurbished either from the food truck or the old location. We changed the name on Facebook. We’re trying to let people know we’re doing takeout now.”
The restaurant offers a unique spin on teriyaki chicken and rice. Customers can choose between a bowl starting at $7 or a platter with two sides for $11 with their choice of protein like chicken, pork, and tofu. They can pick their sauce flavors such as teriyaki, spicy, curry and others.
There are also a variety of sandwiches such as The Dude priced at $10, which has grilled chicken, gouda cheese and smoked bacon. There’s also a Chicken Philly, a Shrimp Po Boy and a teriyaki pork sandwich called “The Babe,” all priced at $10. For veggie lovers there is an Island Salad starting at $5 and meat can be added for an additional $5.
“Our teriyaki is not exactly traditional. It’s Hawaiian style, which means it has pineapple juice and some spices in it that are unique,” Whittington said.
“One of signature items is the ‘Yum-Yum Balls,’ which have come a long way. It’s derived from how most Asian restaurants have leftover rice at the end of the day that gets turned into fried rice the next day. So while working on the truck we had the idea to turn
it into a fried rice ball to make it portable. We panko crust it. It’s rice, chicken, vegetables and cheese.
“You can also get it with your choice of sauce or even bacon-wrapped. We even have a ‘Waffle’ ball with a fried egg on it. We also now have West Coast-style tacos, which are a big seller.”
Island Teriyaki Express is located at 35224 Teays Valley Road next to Smoker Friendly. It is open from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, closed on Sundays.
Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For carry-out order or delivery information call 304-415-8644. For specials and to find you where the food truck will show up next visit them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IslandTeriyakiwv/.
ISLAND TERIYAKI XPRESS
TYPE OF FOOD: Asian Polynesian Fusion
ADDRESS: 35224 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane, WV
HOURS: 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards (No checks)