FROM CHINA TO TROY: Chinese native opens new Japanese restaurant in Troy

Published 3:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017

She first lived in New Jersey to get her master’s in business from Rutgers University.

So how does a Chinese immigrant that  gets a degree in New Jersey end up the owner of a Japanese restaurant in Troy, Alabama?

Troy University is the answer.

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Hu was hired on as a graduate assistant at Troy University and she says she fell in love with the South.

“Up North, people are always in a hurry,” Hu said. “In the South, people are more friendly and easygoing.”

Hu said her friends in Troy encouraged her to open up a business.

Being from China originally, people might have expected her to open a Chinese restaurant, but Hu said she’s always loved Japanese food and decided not to face heavier competition in the Chinese food market in Troy.

“We cooked Japanese food back home and there’s a lot of competition for Chinese food here,” Hu said.

Hu said her goal was to offer something different in the market.

“Before, everyone would think Japanese food is expensive,” Hu said. “My goal was to make a restaurant that everyone can afford. A regular meal here is $8 or $9.”

Despite Troy University’s large number of Asian students, Hu said that doesn’t impact sales for the restaurant very much.

“There are only two or three Japanese students here,” Hu said. “Most are Chinese students and they like to eat at the Chinese restaurants. The students like to eat food from their home.”

The rest of the student body though is a big part of the restaurant’s demographic.

“Our location is within walking distance of the University and there are lots of businesses around here so people can come here on their lunch break,” Hu said.

Hu said this will be the only Trojan Teriyaki and Hibachi House for now, but said expansion could happen in the future.

The restaurant is located at 600 S. Brundidge St. in the building that formerly housed Shish Kabab.

The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.