Former college football player Dempsey Robinson took a different route when he graduated from HBCU Texas Southern University. The 25-year-old decided to run his own hibachi food truck and in the process became the first Black entrepreneur to open a Japanese food truck business.
Hibachi is a Japanese cooking style in which food is cooked in a large, open bowl. Hibachi also refers to the cooking appliance, typically a circular or rectangular grill.
What Robinson Cooks Up
Robinson’s Hibachi Bros Food Truck offers such food as a grilled Hibachi Burrito called “Brorito,” which can be ordered with chicken, shrimp, or New York steak. The truck also serves entrees such as a chicken plate or a lobster plate. Or customers can get combo plates. And this is not cheap truck fare — prices range from $13.50 for a chicken Brorito to $52 for a shrimp trio combo plate with lobster, salmon, and shrimp.
The menu includes dishes made with chicken, shrimp, salmon, lobster tail, and filet mignon, with fried rice, grilled vegetables, and five freshly prepared signature sauces. They offer the highest quality 100 percent certified Halal meats and seafood.
“Our truck is more than just a place to grab lunch. It is a place to try out new dishes created by great chefs from local fresh ingredients,” the company’s website states.
Hibachi Bros also has its own signature beverage, Samurai Juice, and its own version of a frozen Italian ice-styled treat called Samurai Ice.
Inside Robinson’s Business
Robinson, who hails from Los Angeles, attended TSU on a football scholarship. When he decided to open Hibachi Bros Food Truck in Houston’s Third Ward after graduating in May 2021, he recruited his friend Philip Taylor to be his business partner.
The duo also has another truck for on-site catering and events such as private parties, events, and tailgate parties.
The catering truck offers a “Big Bro” package that features grilled hibachi proteins such as chicken, shrimp, lobster, and filet mignon, with fried rice, grilled vegetables, and a choice of five signature sauces. A smaller option called the “Little Bro” includes chicken, shrimp, and New York Steak, with add-on options of salmon, lobster tail.
The Hibachi Biz
Hibachi Bros Truck is certainly a unique business, but it is not the only Black-owned Hibachi business in Texas — there is a catering company called Hibachi Broz in the summer of 2020.
The Food Truck Business
According to industry information publisher IbisWorld, the food trucks industry in the U.S will be worth $1.4 billion in 2022 – and it is still growing.