Island Teriyaki restaurant moves to new ‘Xpress’ location
HURRICANE — Owner Shawn Whittington founded Island Teriyaki in 2013 as a food truck, so perhaps it’s not surprising that Island Teriyaki would move to a new location.
Renamed the “Island Teriyaki Xpress,” the new location on Teays Valley Road is focused exclusively on take-out and will soon offer delivery to the Hurricane area. Whittington is hoping to expand the restaurant concept for franchising in the future. The restaurant was running off of 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. Where we diverged from the original plan was that 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,” Shawn Whittington explained.
“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 called King Chef that closed in July. I talked to the landlords and they were like ‘please move in.’ 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. It took us about three weeks of heavy cleaning to get everything ready. We changed the name on Facebook as 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 ($7) or a platter with two sides ($11) with their choice of protein (chicken, pork, tofu, etc) and sauce (teriyaki, spicy, curry, etc.) There are also a variety of sandwiches such as The Dude ($10), which has grilled chicken, Gouda cheese, and smoked bacon. There’s also a Chicken Philly ($10), a Shrimp Po Boy ($10), and a teriyaki pork sandwich called “The Babe” ($10). For veggie lovers, there is an Island Salad ($5, plus $5 if you add meat).
“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 at most Asian restaurants at the end of the day you have leftover rice 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 Xpress 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. It is 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/Island-Teriyakiwv/.
ISLAND TERIYAKI XPRESS
TYPE OF FOOD: Asian Polynesian Fusion
ADDRESS: 35224 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane
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
PHONE NUMBER: 304-415-8644
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards (No checks)