If the Valley had a creative food business of the year award, the new Teppanyaki 2U would probably win it.
Eric Sunamoto launched a mobile teppanyaki catering service that brings a griddle, a chef, the food and the performance to you. Teppanyaki is the Japanese style of cuisine where a chef makes your meat, rice and vegetables in front of you, often with a dramatic flair involving fire.
Sunamoto dreamed up the idea at his daughter Kimora's 10th birthday. He was sitting there thinking the food was a lot of work and expense and wishing he had hired a taco truck. His daughter loves teppanyaki and he thought, "Man, I wish there was a teppanyaki place" that could deliver.
And just like that, the personal trainer had a new business idea.
A month and a half later, Clovis-based Teppanyaki 2U is in full swing. Sunamoto isn't a stranger to food prep. His family owns Thai restaurant Mekong at Belmont Avenue and Abby Street and Thai Chili at Bullard and Minnewawa avenues.
For Teppanyaki 2U, he brings a 9-foot propane griddle that collapses to fit into a SUV.
"We're bringing the teppanyaki restaurant to your house," he says.
He sets up shop in backyards, at neighborhood events or wherever you need him. Teppanyaki chefs in red chef's hats and jackets make food for the guests and provide a show.
Like at teppanyaki restaurants, the chefs make the "onion volcanoes" — layers of onion slices that spew fire — and juggle rice bowls on their spatulas.
You can see pictures and videos of the chefs in action on the business's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Teppanyaki2U), on its Instagram (http://instagram.com/teppanyaki2u) account and its webpage (www.teppanyaki2u.com).
Teppanyaki 2U has done events for as few as six people to as many as 150. It costs a minimum of $300, more depending upon whether you're ordering steak and lobster or chicken.
The business has events booked into October already and friends are gearing up to start the catering service in Santa Monica and San Jose.
Details: (559) 575-1160.
Fashion Fair mall is getting a Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Plans call for the mall to tear down the outbuilding that was a tire business near Shaw Avenue and First Street and rebuild it as a Chick-fil-A, according to mall marketing manager Kelly Tallant.
There is no timeline on this one yet and work hasn't started so it could be awhile before central Fresnans can get their Chick-fil-A fix.
Jack in the Box
If you've wondered what's being built at the corner of Fowler and Ashlan avenues in Clovis, it's going to be a Jack in the Box.
Construction is moving quickly and the fast-food restaurant is scheduled to open in early November.