Jan. 31 - Japadog opened its first New York restaurant in January, providing curious New Yorkers a taste of hot dogs with a Japanese flair, with ingredients like seaweed and Kobe beef. Kyoko Gasha reports.
Japadog opened its first New York location in January, and is already drawing large crowds, as curious New Yorkers come to taste the restaurant's gourmet hot dogs These hot dogs have a distinctly different flavor thanks to ingredients like Japanese seaweed, Teriyaki sauce and Kobe beef. Japadog is the brainchild of Noriki Tamura. He came up with the idea seven years ago while in Canada. With $30,000 in seed money, Tamura set off to achieve his dream - gourmet fast food, combining Eastern and Western tastes. SOUNDBITE: NORIKI TAMURA, PRESIDENT, JAPADOG (JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION): "There are many hot dog stands in Vancouver, and since I am Japanese, I thought if I mix Japanese taste and North American culture, hot dogs, we would get something interesting." With a baby on the way, Tamura and his wife made and sold the gourmet hot dogs, starting off small. SOUNDBITE: NORIKI TAMURA, PRESIDENT, JAPADOG (JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION): "Even though, we only sold 10 dogs a day, but the conversations with those 10 customers and their encouragement supported us the most." That support eventually helped Tamura build his business. He has a restaurant and four carts in Canada, and now his first American restaurant. Each hot dog costs between $5 and $10 and some New Yorkers are willing to give it a try. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ERIC HOLT, customer "I think they are higher quality. It's usually very nice gourmet hot dogs." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEV BERNAN, customer "This is my first JAPADOG," ("How was it") "Still good. I like it, a litte weird." But it's not just about hot dogs for Mr. Tamura. SOUNDBITE: NORIKI TAMURA, PRESIDENT, JAPADOG (JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION): "The ingredients has lots of love, I never put less efforts to our ingredients. I also service my customers with love and that is the strongest points, and I want my customers to feel that." What's next for Japadog? Tamura hopes to expand in the U.S. and also his home country of Japan; bringing full circle, a savory recipe for success. Kyoko Gasha for Reuters.