What does Kaiju mean?
"Kaiju" (怪獣) is a Japanese word that means "strange beast", and probably the best known example of a kaiju is Godzilla. There are many other kaiju in Japanese movies, including the beasts that Godzilla fights, and the beasts in Ultraman. Chef Taka is also an artist and he decided that if Godzilla is a kaiju, then so is our Lake Monster, Champ! Our logo is Chef's interpretation of Champ as a kaiju. You can see his spikes on his back are more like fins! He's pretty cute, isn't he?
The many versions of our Kaiju!
Who are we?
We are a family that lives and works and goes to school here in St. Albans. We have lived in St. Albans Town since 2012, and we have a combined experience of attending Town School, City School, and BFA-St. Albans! We have worked at City School and BFA, and we love this town and city!
When we aren't at the restaurant, you can find us camping at Lake Carmi, skipping rocks at Kill Kare State Park, or hunting for some yummy food and drinks in the area. Chef Taka-san is here most days except Sunday (when he's cutting the grass or plowing the driveway, depending on the season), and Liz teaches at City School. Jude and Kai stay busy with friends and sports in addition to attending school. We make trips back to our hometowns of Shirakawa, Japan, and Anchorage, Alaska, or we welcome friends and family to come visit us here.
Chef Taka-san has many years of experience working in restaurants in Japan, Alaska, and here in Vermont. He cooks regularly for us and we know how good his food is, we are happy that he can provide it to more people than just his family. He keeps the menu small because he wants to make sure the quality is top-notch for each and every customer. In the summer, he has cold noodles, ginger pork, and his popular chicken bento. In the rest of the year, he serves his curry (made 100% from scratch!) with chicken or pork, his amazing and filling katsu-don, and of course the chicken bento. After the popularity of the aurora maple sauce during the 2023 Vermont Maple Festival, he started offering sides of sauce to his dishes. They are DELICIOUS without the sauce, but come on, who doesn't love sauce?
We have boba "bubble" tea on Saturdays, plus maple milk tea, a variation of Japanese milk tea with a Vermont twist. We also offer melon-pan, a sweet bread that sells out quickly each week! Our creemee machine is up and running, so we have creemees made from Vermont Kingdom Creamery on special occasions and during the summer. We are picky about our ingredients being fresh and high quality, and we make nearly everything from scratch because our customers deserve the very best!
We are lucky to have our friends and family come in, help out, and bring laughter. We are proud to say our customers become our friends!
Apparently we are a great place to take a nap 🤣 Check out the photos and see how many sleeping people you can spot (Hint: they are all our family!)
The concept of a takeout only restaurant wasn't common before the Covid pandemic, but Taka has alwasy believed it can be successful because it's common in Japan. (Liz told him, to her chagrin, "It may be popular in Japan, but this is America! I don't think it will work!" Oh, how wrong she was!!) Taka worked hard to create a small menu with fresh ingredients that he could serve on his own, even during busy rushes, that people could pick up on their own time by ordering online and then go about their day without long wait times.
We love the positive feedback on our food and drinks because unlike a regular eat-in restaurant, people take the food away and enjoy it at home or with friends (or, let's be honest, sometimes in the car -- it's just so good!) and we don't get to hear the feedback or see the empty dishes very often. Our regular customers tell us it's good through their return business and Google reviews. We've said it before and we'll say it again, we have the BEST customers at Kaiju Kitchen! We get to know people while they wait for their food, or when they return and chat with us. So many wonderful people have come to our restaurant, and we love meeting them all.
What's with the takeout containers and utensils?
We believe that we are stewards of our earth. Even without the legislation to reduce single-use plastics, we would have relied on products that can be composted. We even have some customers that burn them in their fires!
Our utensils are made of wood or bamboo, and our containers are made with bagasse or unbleached plant fiber without added PFAs. The drinks we buy are in either aluminum or glass containers. Our boba teas are served in compostable plastic with paper straws, or we also have glass jars with reusable straws for sale. We use returnable glass for our maple milk tea, and when you bring back the glass (please do!), we hand you $1 and say "thank you for saving the earth!" It takes so little to do so much!
What are the hand towels for?
In Japan, at every restaurant you go to, you will get either a warm wet towel or a wet napkin, called Oshibori, so you can wash your hands before you eat. We like this tradition and we supply a small towel that you can put in water and watch it expand, then you have your own Oshibori to wash your hands before eating. Many of our customers "ooh" and "ahh" as it expands, and we have heard that people like to save them for outings with children or to places without running water. However you use them, we welcome you to try the tradition of Oshibori!