An American diner in Sendai
There is a surprising amount of choice in Japan for a hungry diner in search of a burger, and Sendai is no different.
A great place to indulge and also get away from the crowds is Teddy's Diner, located behind Aoba Ward Office, a short walk from Kotodai-koen subway station. It's small, run by the owner, but a lot of effort has been put into both the decor and the menu. As the name suggests, it's modeled on an American diner, and it has quite a cozy feel to it. There are couch seats to sink into, books and magazines to read, and quirky touches like a Casper light fixture. To fill the quiet there's slightly loud, upbeat music playing (I heard a Spanish language version of “I Did it my Way”) and a small TV showing a Japanese channel.
For its size, the menu is surprisingly extensive, with a variety of mains (from burgers and tacos to sandwiches and seafood), salads, sides, snacks, desserts and drinks, both soft and alcoholic. There are even daily specials. Go earlier in the day and you can take advantage of their offers: lunch time is from 11:30 until 14:00 and every burger, hotdog, taco or sandwich comes with fries, a pickle and a drink (a limited selection of soda, juice, tea or coffee); and tea time is from 14:00 until 16:00, when every dessert comes with a drink for an extra ¥200. The owner will also adapt items on the menu to accommodate eating preferences e.g. vegetarian. The menu is in English as well as Japanese, and the owner can speak a little English as well, having spent some time abroad.
One lunchtime, I ordered the teriyaki burger for ¥800. During a short wait, the tantalizing smell of my food came wafting over from the the kitchenette. It looked simple, but it was a good burger, juicy and flavorful. The beef is balanced by a bed of lettuce, tomato, and a dash of mustard, all brought together on a lightly-toasted bun. The chunky fries are fluffy on the inside and wonderfully seasoned on the outside, no excess grease to spoil the experience. It might not satisfy you if you're very hungry, but for lunch it's a perfect amount and the price is good, too.
Teddy's Diner is a small restaurant that deserves more customers than it gets. The burgers are delicious and there's more than enough on the menu to keep different tastes happy.