New opening doesn’t go quite as smoothly as expected.

There’ve been a few new specialty burger joints opening up in Tokyo recently, giving us a wider variety of options like buttermilk chicken and pulled pork, so when we heard about another new opening in the city, our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato cleared his calendar for their grand opening on 20 July and headed out to join the queue before lunchtime.

Called “Doo Wop“, the new chicken burger store is located in Tokyo’s swanky Daikanyama neighbourhood and is run by “Dining Innovation”, a company that previously opened a specialty burger store called Blue Star Burger in Nakameguro in November last year.

▼ Blue Star Burger is a take-out specialty store that only accepts pre-paid orders via an app.

The company’s first foray into the burger business has proven to be very popular, so Mr Sato was keen to find out if Doo Wop would be just as good. A quick look at the signboard by the front door suggested he wouldn’t be disappointed, with menu items like fried chicken pieces and sliders catching his eye.

▼ No beef, pork, or fish burgers here – only fried chicken.

Like Blue Star, Doo Wop has a self-ordering system that allows you to order in advance on the app, or at the self-checkout at the front of the store. Currently, the self-checkout only accepts cashless payments, but from 1 September, cash payments will also be available.

After placing his order at the checkout, Mr Sato received a receipt with his order number and estimated completion time printed on it. It was 10:10 a.m. and his food was scheduled to be ready at 10:30 a.m., which wasn’t a bad wait-time for a made-to-order burger.

As he waited for his meal to be ready, Mr Sato took a good look around the restaurant and found it had the look and atmosphere of an American diner, which tied in nicely with “Doo Wop”, which takes its name from the popular genre of music that originated in the U.S. in the 1940s.

Mr Sato’s visit to the diner was off to a good start, but when the staff called out his order number, he was presented with two trays of food. At first he thought this was their mistake, but then he checked his receipt and realised he’d mistakenly replicated the order, asking for two servings of everything instead of one.

▼ Mr Sato ended up creating a food challenge for himself without even knowing it.

In hindsight, he really should’ve noticed his mistake when he received his receipt, as the “Classic Set” he’d ordered, which included a Teriyaki Tarutaru Burger and a lemonade, was priced at 690 yen (US$6.24). He’d also ordered a piece of fried chicken for 240 yen, which would’ve brought his total to 930 yen, but instead he paid a whopping 1,860 yen for his meal, which really should’ve set off alarm bells for him at the time.

▼ Mr Sato hung his head in shame, feeling like an idiot as he sat at his table for one with two trays of food in front of him.

Just when he thought his levels of embarrassment had sunk to an all-time low, he moved one of the trays to make room for himself as he sat down, and one of the drinks toppled and spilled all over the floor.

It had only been 30 minutes since the store opened, and Mr Sato had already caused a scene and ruined the shiny clean floor around him. As he apologised to staff, he caught sight of a TV crew interviewing diners at the store and realised he’d spilt his drink in perfect view of the camera. Mr Sato wanted to sink into the floor with his lemonade, but all he could do was mumble an embarrassed apology to the kind staff who came to clean up the spill and replace his drink with a fresh one.

Once he got home, he still couldn’t shrug off the feeling of shame and embarrassment so he prostrated himself on the floor of his apartment in apology, in the hopes that staff might see this sincere message of “ごめんなさい” (“gomen nasai”), which means “I’m sorry”.

Rewinding back to the diner, Mr Sato had spilt his drink before even tasting anything, so despite wanting to flee the scene, he had to sit there and eat his meal in shame. That would’ve been hard enough if it was just one meal, but bear in mind that our poor reporter had two trays of food before him, which everyone had seen by now.

Proving his worth as a reporter, though, Mr Sato pushed his feelings to one side and took a sip of the lemonade and a bite of his fries. The drink had a strong sweetness and a refreshing aftertaste, perfect for summer, and the fries were nice and fresh, and notably less greasy than those you’d get at a big fast food chain.

The fried chicken seemed a bit small for 240 yen, but it was 10 yen cheaper than the chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is priced at 250 yen. Doo Wop’s fried chicken is said to contain 11 kinds of spices, and it’s fried in a special pressure cooker to enhance the flavour and soft texture of the meat.

As for the burger, this was a very nice surprise. The Teriyaki Tarutaru burger was filled with tarutaru sauce (tartare sauce), which flowed from its insides like an eruption of lava from a volcano. 

Sinking his teeth into this delicious burger revealed it to be more like a Chicken Nanban burger than a Chicken Teriyaki burger. Chicken Nanban is a specialty from Miyazaki Prefecture made up of succulent and juicy karaage fried chicken soaked in a sweet-and-sour soy-based nanban sauce and topped with tartare sauce. This specialty was the first thing that came to mind when Mr Sato tasted the burger, as the strong flavour of the tartare sauce pushed the teriyaki sauce out of the way to grab the spotlight, but it still had a distinctly Japanese flavour.

This was a chicken burger worth spilling his drink for, and by the time he’d finished his first burger, he was glad he’d accidentally ordered a second one, as that meant he was able to take it home with him and enjoy the tantalising flavours again for dinner.

While his first visit to Doo Wop was marred by embarrassment, completely of his own doing, after a couple of days, Mr Sato was eventually able to look back and laugh at his foolish blunders. After all, he’s done way more embarrassing things in his past, including eating a Biden burger while dressed as Joe Biden, so in the grand scheme of things, his bad day at Doo Wop may not have been so bad after all!

Restaurant information
Doo Wop Daikanyama / ドゥーワップ 代官山店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu Nishi 1-35-14
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. weekdays eat-in (last order 7:30 p.m.); 10:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m. weekdays takeout; 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.(weekends and public holidays)
(These are shortened hours due to the current state of emergency)

Images: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]