There was a time when this ‘Dining Out’ feature included normal restaurants but in recent years it’s just become a trawl through some of the least glamorous places in Japan, with a particular fondness for vending machines which dispense food. I first heard of this one about a decade ago, and actually planned to do a cycle ride to it with a friend back then. That never happened though and I promptly forgot all about it until a few months ago.
I was looking forward to posting this but then YouTuber EricSurf6 uploaded this video 10 days later on the same place. You snooze you lose I guess! Two different platforms too so probably unfair to compare them not that Tokyo Fox can compete anywhere near his multi-million hit YouTube channel!!
Mocchi Pizza & Tateishi Burger (3-17-15 Horikiri, Katsushika) is located about five minutes on foot from Horikirishōbuen Station on the Keisei Line. It’s open from 11:00 till 19:00 everyday except for Wednesdays when it’s closed. I stopped off here on the way back home from a ‘Foxed In The Head’ expedition to Edogawa-ku (look out for that on this site in June 2021 folks!) at the end of September, and actually cycled past it as it doesn’t exactly stand out!
There’s no bright coloured sign or marketing on the window trying to lure you in. Up close, it appeared to be closed as there was no lighting and no-one was inside either. Typically I had no loose coins on me so had to go to the convenience store over the road to buy a drink and get some change for the vending machine part of the restaurant.
It may have looked closed but I tried the door and found it was was open so went inside. No one was around at all but music was playing from a smartphone plugged in. In many other countries a place open like this would probably be looted but not in Japan! This restaurant is a poky little place which has seemingly remained unchanged for the two decades it’s been open! I’m not sure how many times it’s been cleaned in that time but I suspect not too often!
With four small basic burgers available at 100 yen each the only option was naturally to try them all.
1. Chicken Katsu – A disappointing start and the lack of taste and coldness really hit me. Not nice.
Luckily there was a microwave on hand to warm it up but even the heat couldn’t help improve it too much.
2. Pizza – It’s not just burgers as this pizza bread is also available. This had an impressive list of ingredients albeit in very minimal form! Having learned my lesson, it went straight into the microwave and it proved to be a good idea as not only did it warm it up but it also melted the cheese on the fresh bread a bit. Nice but better things to come.
3. Ham Katsu – Much better than the other katsu one, and whilst eating it the owner arrived and I asked him exactly the same questions Eric asked in his video. A great satisfying taste.
4. Hamburger – The original was the best of the lot in my opinion. A classic taste and I then had the bonus of seeing the owner make a couple of them in order to refill the simple machine. The patties are more similar in size to the ones used at conveyor-belt sushi chains rather than your typical supermarket burger.
Bonus: Curry Burger – This one wasn’t in the machine but was on display inside the shop so I thought I may as well complete the set. It turned out to be the second best one.
Whilst there a couple of other people did drop into get a burger so I wasn’t the only one sampling these cheap burgers. This place sure does provide one of Tokyo’s most unique ways of getting a burger. They may look minimal and basic in my photos but they’re generally tastier than they look, and 20 years in business speaks for itself so they must be doing something right.
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