By the time Hiroaki arrived on U.S. soil in 1960, he had already begun to form the idea that this country might be ready for a marriage of a different kind of food - presented with an entertaining flair.
Adopting a name, which would be easier for Americans to pronounce, Rocky Aoki set off to have his dream become reality. He worked seven days a week selling ice cream in New York City and studied restaurant management at night. Through saving and borrowing, Rocky scraped together enough money to finance his first four-table restaurant on New York's W. 56th St.
As they worked within the authentic Japanese farmhouse interior, the Benihana dining concept gradually came into focus. Food would be prepared right at the table "teppan-yaki" style (Teppan meaning "steel grill" and yaki meaning "broiled") with dazzling effects by highly trained chefs. Rocky also believed that because the restaurant was near Broadway, the showmanship of the chefs was extremely important. Beef, chicken and shrimp would be the stars of the menu, all prepared "hibachi-style" (an American-style term for "teppan-yaki" cooking). Guests at the communal tables would place their orders with the chef and watch in amazement as these items were sliced and diced, and flipped into the air. The timing in cooking was critical. These different ingredients had to be ready to serve onto the guests' plates simultaneously.
In 1964, after all the preparation and planning, Benihana of Tokyo was only serving one or two customers a day. Aoki family members moonlighted at other restaurants just to pay the bills. But, six months after the restaurant opened, an enthusiastic review by Clementine Paddleford, legendary restaurant critic of the New York Herald-Tribune reversed the trend for good. New Yorkers flocked to the four-table Benihana and Rocky Aoki suddenly found himself in the position of having to turn dining guests away.
Word Mark BENIHANA OF TOKYO
Translations THE JAPANESE WORD "BENIHANA" IS TRANSLATED AS "RED FLOWER."
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100. G & S: RESTAURANT SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19640400. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19640400
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 72392627
Filing Date May 20, 1971
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0940142
Registration Date August 1, 1972
Owner (REGISTRANT) BENIHANA OF TOKYO, INC. CORPORATION NEW YORK 8685 N.W. 53RD TERRACE MIAMI FLORIDA 33102
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record LLOYD MCAULAY
Prior Registrations 0881040
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20021204.
Renewal 2ND RENEWAL 20021204
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
Restaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • (0) Comments • Saturday, February 11, 2006 • Permalink