Mr. Miyagi from Wichita to add a second restaurant

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The Mr. Miyagi Japanese Grill team includes, from left to right, D’Shawn D’Feng, Randy Poll, Jayden Bui, Brittany Bui, Mike Phan, Andy Nguyen, Sam Adams and LeEllen Chu.

Any fan of the 80s movie “The Karate Kid” knows what Mr. Miyagi was.

Mr. Miyagi – the wise karate instructor played by Pat Morita – was generous. He was sympathetic. He was mysterious. And he wanted to share his skills with the next generation.

Now, Wichita has a popular new Japanese quick-service steakhouse whose managers say they apply the Miyagi Method to food service. The restaurant – which is called M. Miyagi Japanese Grill – opened in July at 3920 E. Harry and has since gained dozens of followers. It has become so popular that its owner is already preparing to open a second restaurant, which should be ready within the month at 4041 N. Maize Road, in the space where Japanese Japanese grills operated until its closure at the end of July.

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Mr. Miyagi opened in July at 3920 E. Harry. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

The owner of the restaurant, according to his two general managers, Andy Nguyen and chef Mike Phan, prefers to remain anonymous. Mystery, it seems, is one of the qualities he shares with Mr. Miyagi. In fact, the name of the restaurant is an ode to what some call the owner.

“He has always been very friendly, very helpful and very smiley,” said Nguyen.

And like his namesake, Mr. Miyagi of Wichita apparently has a knack for recruiting young talent.

He hired two longtime Hibachi chefs to run his restaurant: Nguyen and Phan. Both started as teenagers, working at popular Japanese hibachi restaurants in town – where chefs put on loud, fire-filled and grilled shrimp shows. Phan was chief and director at Kobe and Old Tokyo Steakhouse. Nguyen steakhouses in Kobe, Old Tokyo and Sumo.

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One of Mr. Miyagi’s specialties is the fried chicken bites in a tempura batter. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

The owner hired the two to run his new concept, which features fried entrees like Rangoon crab, dumplings and spring rolls served with a variety of house sauces. Fried rice and yakisoba dishes are also on the menu.

The restaurant has gained fans, Nguyen said, because of its food, which incorporates the hibachi cooking styles the two young chefs learned in their previous jobs. The combined fried rice – made with shrimp, chicken and steak – is made using a garlic butter sauce that makes it taste like it came out of a local Japanese grill.

This fried rice, Ngyuen said, is the restaurant’s biggest seller, with its crispy chicken bites, made from dark meat chicken coated in a tempura batter and then deep-fried. The result is a lighter, crispier fried chicken that’s not so fatty, Nguyen said.

People also love Mr. Miyagi’s giant portions, Nguyen said. One serving of combined rice is a hefty proposition that fills every available square inch of a large on-the-go container.

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A huge container of combo fried rice at Mr. Miyagi Japanese Grill in Wichita is large enough to share. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

“We really focus on serving large portions,” Nguyen said. “It’s a tough time for everyone in the community, and we really want to make big portions out of it so that families can get together and friends can get together and share a really good quality meal that is also casual.” , did he declare.

The Miyagi Way

There is another trait of Miyagi that is important to the owner and his two managers, Nguyen said.

The staff is made up of many high school students and other young employees, whom Nguyen and Phan train to be able to do all the work in the restaurant. Some become skilled hibachi chefs who would be willing to work in a larger steakhouse if they so chose.

They are also trained to be friendly, cheerful, and to greet every customer who walks through the door.

“We train them with the discipline of a normal kitchen, but we also improve them with the skills of a hibachi chef,” he said. “We give them a lot of discipline, skills and character to prepare them for the real world. “

The new restaurant on the northwest side should be ready within a month. It will have the same menu and approach, Nguyen said, but it will not have the large mural of Mr. Miyagi that guards the restaurant checkout area on Harry.

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A mural of “The Karate Kid’s” Mr. Miyagi decorates the wall of the Mr. Miyagi Japanese Grill. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

The mysterious owner, Nguyen said, has big plans for the restaurant and is already considering an expansion behind the first two restaurants. He also hopes to open in neighboring towns. Already word of mouth and social media reviews have helped Miyagi attract customers from as far away as Kansas City and Dodge City, Nguyen said.

“We put a lot of time and love into everything, and I guess it works,” he said. “We take our time. We don’t take shortcuts. We take a lot of the fundamentals and chemistry we’ve learned over the years and apply them to this type of restaurant.

Mr. Miyagi Japanese Grill is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Customers order food from the counter and then can try to find a table in the small dining room or have their meals, served in take-out, take-out containers.

The restaurant does not accept telephone orders, but people can order in advance at the www.ictmrmiyagi.com

Another thing the restaurant doesn’t do: “Wax it. Wax. “

But staff are wearing t-shirts, which Nguyen said the restaurant will eventually start selling, which feature a modified version of that iconic saying on the back.

“The rice on. Rice off.

Mr. Miyagi Menu

Denise Neil has been covering dining and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners looking for local restaurant information. She is a regular judge at local culinary competitions and speaks to groups across Wichita about catering.


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