Monthly Archive June 2012

ByRay Proper
Jun 26, 2012

Hamburger Restaurants in Nagoya

Yes, it has been kind of done to death, but Hamburgers are an important staple in many people’s diets. Even here in Japan, you can make a list of burger joints; some of them are even good!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but mentioning Wolfgang Puck or Shooters seemed a bit like beating a dead horse, and frankly, Shooters “That’s a Wrap” makes their burgers hide in the corner for shame.

So, here are a few Nagoya hamburger restaurants that are a bit farther off the beaten path; though not much!

Layer’s Burgers

3-8-26 Marunouchi, Nakaku, Nagoya. – 052-961-0121
Near (ish) exit 1 from Hisaya Odori Station on the Meijo and Sakuradori Lines
I have mentioned before, but this blog is supported by The H&R Group, and this shop is very close to that office; if you are in the neighborhood, drop by! Great burgers, but the portions are a bit small. Another blog described them as huge, and I can only draw from this that the author was in fact very small. I recommend the avocado burger, and I know a few others that do to! If you are worried about the portion, order extra fries!

The Corner Bar and Saloon

Nagono 2-18-17, Nagoya, Aichi 451-0042 – 052-565-8008
Near the Nagoya International Center
Nag Mag calls this a “hamburger paradise that also bills itself as a saloon. The Corner has really good burgers, a great selection of beer, and the owner is pretty cool. It is rumored to have an English menu, but we cannot quite remember today! While not very well known, this is a great place!

OX Diner

2-17-9 Higashisakura, Higashi -Ku, Nagoya, Aichi – 052-936-0093
You might have seen this place around town. It is brightly colored red and white, and it has a bit of that classic diner look to it. The food is good, and the potatoes were very good. Real potato fries, yummy.
OX Diner Facebook Page

Freshness Burger

Various Locations
Freshness Burger is a chain, but it is a chain whose guiding principal is to make fresh, natural foods in a simple way. They still manage to pull that off despite having locations all over Japan. The owner started with one shop in Tokyo, and the stated goal of recreating a small shop in Tennessee, USA. Now, if you are out and about, you are probably more likely to see a “Freshness” than any of our other offerings; if you do, walk past Lotteria, and Mos Burger and give it a try.

Burger King

Chikusa Aeon 2-16-13 Chikusa Chikusa-ku Nagoya, Aichi 464-0858
Burger King makes a good burger, and they do really good job of marketing deals like “all you can eat” specials and odd burger types debuted for a limited time.  Top that off with their standard menu of goodies and this is a must-visit spot for burgers.  Not as good as some of the other options, but much better than other options in the fast food category.

Japan Craft Beer&Wine Grillman

Transit Bldg. 1F, 2-11-13 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya – 052-204-2914
Otherwise known as Grillman Burgers, this place focuses on beer and meat; not necessarily in that order.   The food is good, and the atmosphere is pleasant.  Well worth a visit if you hunger for hops and sizzling meat!


ByRay Proper
Jun 09, 2012

The Pig in Osu – Yabaton Kushi Katsu

If you have spent any time in Nagoya at all, you’ll recognize the Yabaton pig. Yabaton is a staple food in the miso capitol of the world; it’s the home of the Miso Katsu renowned across the globe. Sure, serving the most famous Miso Katsu on the planet doesn’t place Nagoya or Yabaton on many people’s bucket lists, but if you love miso and fatty pork cutlets, there’s no need to bother making the list; Yabaton is heaven on earth.

Yabaton may not have invented Miso Katsu per se, (although they think they did), but “Miso Dare,” their signature practice of dipping of the cutlet in thin red miso sauce, has become synonymous with the dish. That trick was all Yabaton. The story goes like this: Suzuki Yoshio was eating dottei nabe one day when he dipped a katsu stick in the red miso base. Imagine the look on everyone else’s face as he pulled the dripping katsu stick from the nabe and took a bite. As they stared, his face must’ve lit up. A gruff “umai” must’ve escaped his lips. It was pretty good. No really good. Good enough, in fact, to open a shop.

Yahaton Kushi Katsu!
Suzuki opened Yabaton’s doors on a side street Osu Kannon in 1947. People weren’t in the best of shape financially, or physically, back then, but they could afford Yabaton’s Kushi Katsu with red miso sauce. The Showa era shop thrived through the 50’s and 60’s, and, in 1972, Yabaton landed a prized contract with the Nagoya Dragons to serve their Miso Kushi Katsu at the stadium. No, not the Nagoya Dome. The real Dragons’ open air ballpark, the Nagoya Chunichi Baseball Stadium.

The Dragons bailed out of that classic post-war diamond to their current dismal Nagoya Dome in 1997, but Yabaton didn’t go with them, so you won’t be eating Kushi Katsu at a Dragon’s game anymore (unless you smuggle in take-out). Too bad about the Dragon’s lackluster new home, but “Yabaton” had become a household word in Nagoya, and famous throughout Japan. People throughout the nation started to pilgrimage to the little Osu Kannon shop decorated in Chunichi Dragons regalia.

The other day my wife and I set out to eat at the original Yabaton. It’s not the crowded storefront on Otsu Dori. The old shop was behind it, on one of the narrow Osu pathways marked as a two-way street. Although my wife grew up here, she hasn’t lived in Nagoya regularly for ten years, but still somehow remembered just where the old place was. As we walked she told me about the cramped two story building with shared tables, diner style waitress, and a line of cooks behind the bar. When we arrived, famished, at the spot that her motor memory led us, the building she described so vividly… the classic restaurant… the Nagoya landmark… was gone. Japanese history once again meets the wrecking ball.

Yabaton still owns the land. They recently put up a brand-spanking-new honten there. According to a long-time waitress we spoke to, they razed the old shop six years ago. My wife told her it was a shame. The old shop had so much more character. Our waitress shook her head and looked a little sad as she agreed. “Mottai nai, ne.”