Riding in the wake of the small restaurant influx Murray experienced this past fall, a new Asian buffet-style restaurant, Hibachi King, opened today joining the ranks of Penn Station, Fazoli’s and Dunkin’ Donuts among other businesses which opened in the past few months.
Hibachi King now occupies the building that four months ago housed the buffet-style restaurant Ryan’s Steakhouse, located just off of Ky. 121 North across the street from the CFSB Center.
According to Matt Mattingly, city administrator, minor changes to the building were necessary, and most of the equipment and furniture Ryan’s incorporated will be used by the new owners, allowing for Hibachi King’s quick transition.
Ryan’s Steakhouse, which is owned by Buffets, Inc., closed on Sept. 18 after its lease expired and the company decided not to renew it.
“We were sad to see Ryan’s go,” Mattingly said, “but we’re happy that the building and the space is being put to use.”
Hibachi King will be put into direct competition with Murray’s already well-established Asian eateries: August Moon, Happiness Restaurant, Shogun Japanese Sushi & Steak and Jasmine Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar which was just renovated and reopened late last September.
Daniel Yong, owner of the August Moon restaurant which has served Murray for almost 23 years, said only time will tell if Hibachi King will be here to stay.
“At first, everyone will come and try their food because it’s a new restaurant; that’s the nature of business,” Yong said. “In my opinion though, with this economy slowing down business for everyone, I don’t think they’ll last.”
Yong said no matter what he does, Hibachi King will take some of his valuable customers and in Murray’s fast food economy, a new restaurant is going to be rough on everyone.
Rachel Parrill, sophomore from Louisville, Ky., said she ventures off campus to eat about twice a week and would probably eat at Hibachi King at some point.
“I like trying new places to eat and Asian food is just delicious in general,” she said. “I don’t think it’s necessary to have another Asian restaurant, though. I would have liked to see something different come to Murray like an Indian restaurant.”
Justin Moser, freshman from St. Louis, Mo., said although he goes out to eat every weekend, Hibachi King does not appeal to him considering the number of Asian buffet-style restaurants already located in Murray.
“There’s Asian food everywhere already,” Moser said, “so why should I care?”
Mattingly, however, sees the addition of a new business as a positive benefit to Murray.
“It’s positive growth in our community,” he said. “The fact that a new business has come to Murray shows that our city and community are growing and that we are hopefully coming out of this recession.”
Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.