The owner of Maui Express, a teriyaki bowl restaurant at Sante Fe Drive and Antioch Road, has opened his second restaurant in north Overland Park.
Dave Hedrick said he had his eyes on this second location, at 7702 Shawnee Mission Parkway, for as long as he’s been in business — 14 years. Back then, it was a “very popular” gourmet hot dog place and, at one point, it turned into Bistro 913, a Vietnamese/Hawaiian restaurant which recently closed down.
“We will have fantastic visibility,” he said. “We’re very excited about the location.”
Regardless of his restaurant’s visibility, Hedrick still believes his product speaks for itself.
“You can’t stay in business for 14 years and people don’t like your food,” he said. “When a new customer is in the restaurant, I’ll ask them after they’ve eaten their meal how everything is, and people say it’s wonderful. It’s like something they’ve never had before.”
‘A healthy alternative to fast food’
Hedrick’s menu is simple. Dishes have a carb base, white or brown rice or noodles, plus grilled meat, which is chicken, beef or shrimp, and steamed vegetables. Each dish is topped with teriyaki sauce, which he makes every day fresh. There are some wraps, sushi-type rolls and other healthy options, but the teriyaki bowl is the main feature.
“Our mission is to provide a healthy alternative to fast food,” he said. “Sometimes I refer to it as healthy fast food, but some people have very special ideas about what fast food is; some people think fast food has to be greasy…We do not have a fryer in the restaurant.”
Hedrick said he ran into the “teriyaki bowl concept” when he lived in California. After returning to the Kansas City area, he was “very frustrated” that there were no teriyaki bowl restaurants. Maui Express only became a thing after he got tired of driving to Omaha for a teriyaki bowl.
“Really and truly, I opened it because I love the food; I opened it so I can eat here,” he said. “I eat here every single day.”
He’s proud to keep his restaurant business open for the past 14 years.
“The Kansas City restaurant market is very, very tough and very finicky,” he said, citing several restaurant closings during the recession in 2008. “We hung in there and survived, and we’ve got a really, really loyal following, and they love us. They were worried we weren’t going to be able to stay in business.”