Food Restaurants Stories Takoyaki

Takoyaki – Healthy, Affordable, and Delectable

Earlier this year when the majority of us were staying at home baking bread, tie-dying, and doing anything to keep ourselves entertained during the global pandemic, owner, Ikadek Suartsa, and head chef, Sang Danayasa, took a risk and opened the family operated Asian fusion restaurant, Takoyaki.

Both Ikadek and Sang had previously worked at restaurants and always wanted to open their own place. “I’ve been working for somebody else for a long time, like for 20 years, and I’m about to turn 37. When you work at a restaurant you have a dream to do your own thing and have your family in the back and have your sister bussing tables. So now, I have a restaurant that is family owned and operated,” Suartsa tells FetchMe.

No Grand Opening During a Global Pandemic

Takoyaki is located at 2035 Interstate Drive in Opelika. They are known for having authentic Japanese, Indonesian, and Chinese cuisine. Head Chef, Sang Danayasa, is well versed, and enjoys, cooking Italian, French, and Japanese cuisine. “[Sang] opened his first restaurant in Birmingham in 2012. This year we opened right during… well, you know the time,” Ikadek chuckled. “Opening during COVID was not a good time, especially for restaurants, but business has slowly picked up. It’s been almost 9 months now and, luckily, we survived. It’s far from what we expected. We are pretty new so not many people know about us, so it was double the challenge.”

Takoyaki's outdoor exterior
Takoyaki – 2035 Interstate Drive, Opelika, AL

When they first opened, Takoyaki completely relied on word of mouth to promote their business, which is not easy, especially during a pandemic where, at the beginning, customers were limited to takeout only. Now, Takoyaki is trying to increase their presence on social media and have put up three billboards throughout Auburn-Opelika to increase their exposure. They also offer takeout and curbside service for customers that wish to avoid eating inside restaurants. “COVID has been the biggest challenge during the opening of our restaurant because we have certain regulations that we have to follow. Hopefully, with COVID, next year will be normal and all of these struggles will go away,” said Ikadek. “Ever since Corona, people haven’t been wanting to eat out. Since we opened in the midst of the pandemic, people don’t know that we exist. We didn’t even do a grand opening because it would’ve been pointless.”

Takoyaki – Not Your Typical Asian Cuisine

Much like other businesses, Takoyaki has had to find ways to differentiate themselves from other restaurants in the surrounding area. Ikadek believes that they have done just that. “A lot of our recurring customers have said that the food is good, the price is great, and the service was wonderful as well. We like to treat our customers like family, I mean, we are family owned. We also make sure that our place is very clean. My partner [Sang] has a lot of experience in restaurants so that’s why we have Asian-Fusion,” said Ikadek. Some of their best-selling dishes are hibachi filet mignon, goat curry, and for dessert, tiramisu. “My favorite food to cook is hibachi steak. We also have Indonesian skewers with beef or chicken that are also great to cook and very popular,” said head chef, Sang Danayasa. Takoyaki also offers bottle service, a full bar, as well as gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian dishes.

Food from Takoyaki
Just one of Takoyaki’s many popular dishes!

A shared goal that Ikadek and Sang have is to provide good quality food that is fairly priced. They have multiple dishes that they believe are the epitome of this. “We have a sushi combo box for just $10 and no one around here can really beat that. When people try our restaurant, they seem to be really surprised by just how good it is. We probably make around one hundred boxes a day,” Ikadek told FetchMe. Their combo box includes two sushi rolls of your choice along with a California roll, which comes out to 16 pieces of sushi.

Affordable for All

Unlike the major fast-food chains that most college students consume, all of the dishes on Takoyaki’s menu are made-to-order and served fresh. Takoyaki strives to make good quality food fast. “Have you ever been to Chipotle? They have a half-way buffet. Over there you can come and go in less than five minutes. Over here, we still try to be fast, but fresh and still affordable,” Ikadek said.             

To ensure customers safety, Takoyaki is taking extra precautions in order to keep their restaurant COVID free. They are requiring employees to wear masks at all times, providing ample amounts of hand sanitizer for customers to use, and are giving customers masks if they do not have one in order to enter the restaurant.

“I definitely encourage people to come in and read our menu,” Ikadek told us. “It is very extensive, and the price and the quality are great. We have many healthy options with very little carbs. Come give us a shot!”

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