Asian restaurant concept eyes Tennessee presence

Chain looking to get to 100 units nationally by '16

An ambitious restaurant chain based in Denver is aiming to bring its fresh Asian grill fare to Tennessee, with the Nashville area in line for up to eight locations.

The owners of Teriyaki Madness say they envision opening 20 or more stores in the Volunteer State as part of a big push into more than 10 new states that will double the company’s store base. Founded in 2003, Teriyaki Madness now runs 14 locations in Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, California and Texas.

Company officials haven’t yet found a franchisee to develop Tennessee but say they have had talks with four “strong, qualified prospects.” Memphis is likely to be the first Tennessee city to get a Teriyaki Madness restaurant, which typically lease space in strip centers anchored by big-box names or in downtown and non-traditional locations.

The Teriyaki Madness team led by CEO Rod Arreola already is working to add restaurants in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas and is eyeing future growth in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio in addition to Tennessee. By 2016, Arreola wants to have 100 locations under his umbrella.

If it succeeds in setting up shop in the Nashville area, Teriyaki Madness would join a number of other recent chain entries. Most recently, pizza concept Pie Five and Dallas-based Corner Bakery Café have begun setting up shop in Middle Tennessee.