"Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto is partnering with Delaware North Cos. to provide fast-casual eateries serving Japanese bar food in airports across the country. The bistros, titled Skewers, will serve an assortment of yakitori -- skewered grilled or deep-fried meats and vegetables -- served with rice bowls for portable consumption, as well as soups and salads.
The restaurants' settings would take the form of two different models -- a take-out counter and a traditional sit-down approach -- and both would feature open kitchens. According to Vito Buscemi, DNC’s director of Concept Portfolio, the line has "great menu variety and great presentation -- all the meats and vegetables are grilled right in front of you. It's very quick, convenient and healthy, and we think it's going to have mass appeal."
The fare aims to provide healthy, refined cuisine at affordable prices. Soups are under $5, salads go for $7.95 to $10.95, and skewer prices range from $6.95 for vegetables to $16.95 for meats. Morimoto and Delaware North have collaborated on smaller catering projects in the past, but decided to partner together to create the Skewers concept.
"Morimoto does sushi, but we wanted to create something new and exciting for the airports, a healthy alternative," says Buscemi. "We started talking to him about trying to develop a new brand and concept."
A famed "global cooking" chef, Morimoto has worked at Nobu, opened two eponymous restaurants and is the Food Network's Japanese "Iron Chef." Though commended for his sushi skills, Morimoto and Delaware North decided to hone in on yakitori, a popular Japanese bar food with comparatively limited popularity in the U.S. Delayed by the time-consuming bid process of airport dining, Delaware North aims to have a couple locations opening in 2010, with more to open nationwide, thereafter.