On Wednesday, Sept. 14, a new Seattle-style teriyaki restaurant opened on 137 Halsey Street, two blocks away from Rutgers Newark. Teriyaki Madness, affectionately known as “TMAD,” is a self-described “fast-casual” franchise with locations all over the country, and one international location in Mexico City, Mexico. This is the first time that Teriyaki Madness has come to New Jersey.
“We are ecstatic to be opening up our first New Jersey shop in Newark,” said Teriyaki Madness CEO Michael Haith in the restaurant’s official press release. “The Newark team is a wonderful addition to our franchise family and we are so excited to watch and support them as they champion TMAD’s entry into New Jersey as we continue to expand throughout the state.”
Teriyaki Madness made its debut in Newark with a “Sneak Peek” training event on Sep. 14, where the first 100 people were offered free entrees. Yash Jagad, Newark resident and the general manager of the Newark location, reported that over 500 bowls were sold on the first day. The restaurant then kicked off its grand opening celebration event at 11 a.m. on Sept. 17, enticing customers by generously promising the first five customers to order an entree with free bowls for a year.
Decorated with colorful posters displaying quotes such as “Have a rice day!” and “Can you rock the wok?” the place had a cheery and casual atmosphere.
“I just get that American vibe from here,” said Sayuri Naito, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major who is of Japanese descent. “Kind of like Panda Express.” She ordered edamame and the chicken katsu bowl with white rice and vegetables, and noted that although the katsu was a bit lacking in authenticity, it was still satisfying.
I ordered the crab rangoons and a chicken teriyaki bowl with fried rice and vegetables. The crab rangoons reminded me of the crab wontons from P.F. Chang’s crab wontons– crispy on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. The chicken teriyaki bowl reminded me of the Poké bowl from Ono Grinds Poké (another local Newark eatery) in that even though I ordered the smallest size, I still struggled to make a dent in it! Teriyaki Madness is definitely generous with its proportions while still retaining a great flavor.
“Crab Rangoon is definitely my favorite appetizer,” said Jagad. “It’s made with real crab, and that’s what surprises most people. I eat them every other day.”
“We’re trying to come up with year round discounts for 10% off for college students,” continued Jagad when asked about the location’s proximity to multiple college campuses. “We also want to start hosting events, like comedy night and merengue, especially for students. We want to be a part of the local college culture.
“To be honest, I think this concept [of teriyaki food in a bowl] would be a good fit anywhere, but I’m especially excited to bring the brand to my community because Newark and Teriyaki Madness share a similar confidence as a city and brand both on the rise.”
Teriyaki Madness may not be as close to campus as Ramen Gami, but is definitely another solid Japanese-inspired food option for people who don’t mind venturing a bit further!