Alex Brockway, founder of Cocky Teriyaki, has worked in the food service industry since the day after he turned 18.

His father told him many stories growing up about paying his way through college with tips he earned as a waiter. Following in his father’s footsteps, Brockway also worked in the food service industry through college to now, from delivering pizzas to bartending and managing. Brockway said he always dreamed of owning a restaurant, but he did not find the right timing until he opened Cocky Teriyaki in June 2020.

Having opened while COVID-19 affected restaurants in the U.S., Brockway said the timing of the restaurant’s opening was not as unfortunate as one may think.

“We didn’t have any preconceived notions of what it was like before COVID-19,” Brockway said. “As we set up and got going, we knew what we were getting ourselves into and had to leverage technology to our advantage.”

The location was previously a Wok Express, but the owners were ready to retire, so Brockway bought the property from them, he said.

Brockway brought chicken teriyaki with him when he moved, with the help of his dad, from Seattle to Austin in December 2019.

“Teriyaki is to Seattleites as barbecue is to Texans,” Brockway said. “It’s on every street corner, and I grew up eating this food two or three nights a week.”

Chicken teriyaki is originally a Japanese dish that features grilled chicken covered in soy sauce and marinade. The restaurant’s chicken teriyaki includes flame-grilled chicken, bigger portions and to-go box packaging that offers a more authentic Seattle experience, Brockway said. The menu extends beyond chicken and has beef, shrimp and tofu teriyaki. As a Seattle staple in the city, Brockway said he is confident in the dish’s potential to grow in Texas.

"[Cocky Teriyaki] started from an idea that we wanted to mirror what we had seen work hundreds of times over in Seattle,” Brockway said. “How could it be possible that people’s taste buds are so different from one part of the country to the next?”

Brockway said at the restaurant he has taken advantage of the demand for takeout and delivery services through third parties within the last year and plans to make it a key part of the business model going forward. A Cocky Teriyaki mobile app launched alongside a web version July 20, and he opened a second location Aug. 1 as a cloud kitchen. These kitchens are cooking facilities designed to prepare food for takeout and delivery only. Although there will be no dine-in seating, Brockway said the location will feature a communal front counter for pickup.

“The younger generations either didn’t learn to cook or don’t want to cook, and the market [for virtual kitchens] is just growing,” Brockway said. “That’s where I think a good segment of [the restaurant industry] is going to go, and we’re early.”

As a new restaurant owner, Brockway credits his team for the success they have seen within their first couple of years in business, saying there is no way he could make it all happen by himself.

“I want a place where the employees want to come to work,” Brockway said. “We struggled with staffing and hiring for the first six to nine months and getting the right mix of people, but we’ve finally hit our stride.”

Teriyaki to try:

Chicken teriyaki originates from Japan. Toshi Kasahara immigrated to Seattle from Japan and opened the city's first teriyaki shop in 1976. The dish features flame-grilled chicken covered in teriyaki sauce and typically is served on top of rice. The sauce consists of soy sauce, sake or mirin, sugar and ginger. Here are four dishes to try at Cocky Teriyaki:

  • Beef Teriyaki: ($11.50): Marinated grilled skirt steak topped with teriyaki sauce, served over a layer of rice with a side salad

  • Chicken Teriyaki: ($11): Marinated grilled chicken topped with teriyaki sauce and served over a layer of rice and side salad. Owner Alex Brockway said this item is the restaurant's most popular item.

  • Combination Yakisoba: ($12.50): Customers can choose a combination of two proteins. This dish is served with stir-fry noodles, yakisoba sauce, and mixed stir-fry vegetables.

  • Spicy Chicken Teriyaki: ($11.50): Chicken teriyaki marinated in teriyaki marinade topped with spicy teriyaki sauce, served with Calrose rice and iceberg lettuce. Brockway said customers should ask for an extra salad dressing to put on top of this dish for a tasty combination.

Cocky Teriyaki

200 Buttercup Creek Blvd., Ste. 117, Cedar Park

5610 N. I-35, Austin (takeout, delivery only)


Hours: daily 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.