The Midtown Manhattan lunch rush takes some getting used to, as Paul Krug learned a few weeks ago when he opened Glaze Teriyaki Grill, a fast-casual concept featuring Seattle-style versions of Japanese grilled meat dishes.
Glaze’s menu features grilled beef, chicken, tofu and salmon, plus such sides as pork spare ribs, edamame, cucumber salad, gyoza and cold soba noodles.
The average per-person check is about $10.
Krug shared his observations about his new New York restaurant with NRN.
Before you opened you said you were hoping to start with 200 covers a day. How’s that going?
We’ve definitely exceeded that. They’ve been over 300 a day during the week. We’re not doing as much on weekends, but it’s just been two weekends, and some of the people we saw the first weekend we also saw the second weekend.
We’ve gotten off to a great start, and we haven’t even started delivery or catering yet. We’ve been so full at lunch that we were unable to cook more food for delivery.
We’ve already changed our procedures to accommodate that two-and-a-half-hour, five-day-a-week lunch rush. We had 30 to 40 people at all times expecting McDonald’s speed, but made to order.
Are you par-cooking the food now?
No, but rather than purely cooking the food to order, we’ve started to anticipate what they’re likely to order, and we start filling the grill when we see people starting to come in. Now we’re down to anywhere from three to five minutes for most orders.
What was your first day like?
We were absolutely slammed. The first two days we just had tons of people, so on [the third day] we made a lot of changes and were able to accommodate the crowds and do a lot more business.
It was fun challenge. That Midtown lunch rush is very difficult.
Fortunately, our chef, Dennis Lake, has high-volume experience. He’d been executive sous chef at Planet Hollywood in Times Square and at Spotlight Live [also in Times Square] before.
Tell us about Seattle-style teriyaki.
In a nutshell, it’s Korean-influenced teriyaki. I mean teriyaki is a Japanese cuisine, but in Seattle, simply because of immigration patterns, a lot of Korean families started opening teriyaki places. They brought in what they grew up with and how they cooked at home. The sauce became a little different — just like barbecue sauces from North Carolina and Texas are different.
How do your customers like the food?
We’ve been open 12 days, and we’ve had people who have said they’ve been there seven, eight times already.
We’re going to start delivery and catering at the beginning of the year. We’ll be on SeamlessWeb, which says they have 340 corporate accounts in the area, so there was no way we were going to open with delivery. I’m sure once we start, we’ll be crazy at first.
I’ve already done a couple of personal deliveries myself and one large catering job for a hedge fund for 120 people.
We’re going to start marketing that we have gluten-free options. We wanted our regular sauce to be gluten-free, but price-wise it didn’t make sense. We have a slight upcharge for the gluten-free teriyaki sauce that we make from scratch.
We have definitely had a pick-up in that and the word is starting to spread, and some customers have given me the names of websites that gluten-free people tend to go to.
What are your best-selling items?
The gyoza are selling like crazy, our pork ribs are incredible. Those and the cold soba and cucumber salads are our best sides. The best-selling proteins are chicken breast and thigh.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]