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At the posh Genji Japanese Steakhouse in Novi, Mich., diners enjoy seeing their food prepared right in front of them. But what they may not realize is that the table they’re sitting at is the first of its kind — a self-ventilating electric Teppanyaki table designed top-to-bottom by mechanical contractor Mickey McEvoy.
“There is no other table like this on the market,” said McEvoy, owner of Air Temp Mechanical, Redford, Mich. “It’s the only one that’s UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved and fire tested to UL 300 and 710B. Why we’re so proud of the table is because it is a clean-environment piece of equipment, unlike all the rest of them in the market, which put grease on the roof and, therefore, cost a lot of money to maintain.”
The FANMA Series Smokeless Electric Teppanyaki Table works by sucking the air from the top of the grill down into the table, where the grease is filtered out. Then the clean air, which is cooled to just a few degrees above room temperature, is expelled back into the room.
McEvoy boasts that the filter, which is easy to clean, captures 100 percent of the grease in the air before returning the air to the room.
Tony Pi, of FANMA distributor Pi Distribution Inc., praised the tables, saying they are better than any other Teppanyaki table on the market. Pi, whose family owns Genji, said being able to move the tables around the restaurant is a significant added bonus that is simply not an option with other Teppanyaki tables, which have to stay where the building’s HVAC systems can properly ventilate them.
“The table requires no ducted systems, so hotels, on the 10th floor, can put one of these tables up there without the ventilation,” Pi said. “The return air is so clean.”
Genji chef Lom Poungthana, who trains all of Genji’s Teppanyaki chefs, is also a huge fan of the table. “It’s beautiful, for one,” he said. “Two, it’s a lot cleaner and a lot easier to work with because you’ve got a bigger surface and the temperature is a little more evenly distributed.”
But visual appeal, functionality, and maneuverability aren’t the only benefits of McEvoy’s tables. In addition to saving money by not having to install any HVAC equipment to ventilate the tables — which McEvoy estimates would have cost more than $500,000 to do at Genji’s Novi location — the FANMA tables also save money in energy costs.
“The cost savings is immediate because the table is very efficient,” McEvoy said. The electric heating elements in the grill only operate when they are needed, he explained, whereas a gas Teppanyaki table continually burns fuel, even after the surface has reached the desired temperature.
Now that his teppanyaki tables are UL approved, McEvoy said his next goal, besides getting production rolling, is to achieve Energy Star certification. He said he would also like someday to see a rebate program in place for consumers who purchase the tables.
“We’re proud because it’s environmentally friendly,” he added.
For more information about McEvoy’s Teppanyaki tables, visit www.pidistribution.com.
Publication date: 4/22/2013