WHO IS DOUG? ダグって誰?(はじめに)

Yes, I know. While you are sitting in this small burger shop in Japan, your mind is racing with thoughts, you’re wondering, “Doug?”, and I must admit, your question is quite reasonable. So let me begin by introducing Doug. Doug actually is a real person (surprised!?) and he is the Founder of Doug’s Burger chain of restaurants, which was founded in Miyako-jima, Okinawa, Japan, in 2011.

Doug is a Japanese person by birth, but he currently resides in California, carries a U.S. passport, and is a corporate attorney by trade. OK, now you look even more confused. Bingo! That is the precise reason why this page is provided so that you can wonder no more about whom Doug is and how Doug’s Burger came about. So sit back, relax and enjoy the reading while you wait for your burger to be served.


Miyako-jima (The Island of Miyako) is located about 180 miles south of the Main Island of Okinawa, and is 24 degrees north of the Equator; therefore, it just misses the Tropic of Cancer by a very slim margin. Because of this, the Island is abundantly blessed with incredibly beautiful coral reef and year-round tropical-like weather. It is also known among big game anglers as the ultimate destination to go after huge yellow-fin tuna, and Doug has been an angler since he was a child. So while he was travelling between SFO and Tokyo on his business trips, he began to add Miyako-jima as his weekend getaway destination. Then this hobby of Doug’s became an obsession. He began to go from 40 Lbs. tuna to 80 Lbs., then to 160 Lbs., and… There simply was no end in sight. There was always a bigger tuna to dream about, right?

And he truly fell in LOVE, not just with the big game fishing, but with the Island itself. Visiting Miyako-jima became the center of his life. However, at the same time, he also saw the limitations of this small Island with a population of a mere 53,000 and 400,000 (as of 2011) tourists annually. So he began to seriously consider various possibilities of how he could help to ignite the economy of the Island. As a result, on December 2nd, 2011, Doug’s Burger was officially in business.


Doug actually did not begin to draft his business plan based on beef hamburgers. That was not his original intention. His starting point was, yes, yellow-fin tuna. From the beginning, he was determined to use yellow-fin tuna fillet (in Hawaiian, “ahi”) as his signature dish. In the world of sushi, there is a “tuna hierarchy” (sounds funny?), the “class system” of tuna, if you want to call it that. Listing them from the most expensive to the least, blue-fin, big-eye, yellow-fin, and albacore, is the clear, undisputable and undeniable order. While blue-fin is often praised as the “diamond of the sea”, very little attention is paid to yellow-fin and albacore. Nevertheless, the danger and challenges which professional fishermen face at sea, whether they are fishing for blue-fin or yellow-fin, are the same. In a nutshell, it is one of the most dangerous occupations that one can choose in this modern age.

At the same time, Doug also knew, despite the fact that yellow-fin may not be the perfect tuna for sushi, if it is cooked (meaning as, not “raw”), yellow-fin blossoms with juicy texture and incredibly rich taste. With this in mind, Doug first came up with the recipe for “Doug’s Tuna Steak Burger”.


TARAMA- BEEF 多良間牛との出会い

But having a recipe for Tuna Steak Burger was not sufficient for a restaurant. Doug also knew that he could not win the hearts of tourists just by offering his signature tuna burger, no matter how great it may be. That is when he discovered Tarama-Beef.

OK, let me back up a bit here. Miyako-jima is the main island of what is commonly known as the “Miyako-Islands”, which is comprised of, Miyako-jima, Ikema-jima, Ohgami-jima, Irabu-jima, Shimoji-shima, Kurima-jima, Tarama-jima and Minna-jima. Out of these eight islands, Miyako-jima and Tarama-jima are quite well-known as one of the best “Wagyu” (short black-haired Japanese cattle) producing areas in Japan.

Tarama-jima (The Island of Tarama) can be found on the map (look carefully, otherwise you may miss it!) 40 miles west of Miyako-jima. It is only 9 miles to drive (or to jog) around the island and the highest point on the island is only 100 feet above sea level. It literally looks like a floating coin in the sea, with the “human population” of 1,200 yet the “cattle population” of 5,000. And again, it is one of the most famous Wagyu producing areas in Japan, but Doug was astonished to find out that the trademark of “Tarama-Beef” was not yet registered! So Doug immediately seized the opportunity by filing an application with the Trademark Office of Japan, and Doug’s Burger now is the proud owner of “Tarama-Beef” trademark. Think about it for a minute, if you personally own the trademark of “Texas-Beef (the US)”, “Alberta-Beef (Canada)” or “Queensland-Beef (Australia)”, how awesome would that be!

So with yellow-fin tuna fillets from Miyako-jima and Tarama-Beef patties from Tarama-jima, Doug was ready to open a restaurant.

EAT TO LIVE 食べるということ

At Doug’s Burger, we of course strive to provide you with the best tasting food possible. But in addition, there is an important message which we would like to convey from the bottom of our hearts. The square-shaped tuna fillet that you are about to enjoy, was not swimming in the sea, square. The round-shaped beef patty which you are about to bite into was not grazing the farm, round. The LIVES become FOOD by animals giving up their lives so that we can eat to live.

There is a word in Japanese, “ITADAKIMASU”, and the closest translation which I can think of is “bon-appetit” in French, but the literal translation of “ITADAKIMASU” is, “I take, from you”. Since childhood, we are taught that the word “ITADAKIMASU” is an expression of gratitude for the lives given so that we can live. Domesticated animals give up their lives so that the human race can strive forward. The depth of meaning of “ITADAKIMASU” is truly amazing and touching.      

At Doug’s Burger, we would always like to remain as the burger shop which remembers and honors the lives given so that we can live. Because of this, we intentionally chose a cow to be our mascot named “Doug’s Cow”. There are seven variations of Doug’s Cow and they welcome you on the drink coasters.

In addition, we perceive food safety as the most important and critical issue facing the restaurant business today. Therefore, all menu items at Doug’s Burger absolutely contain no artificial coloring, no preservatives and no MSG. Moreover, all menu items are the products of Doug’s imagination, but those imaginings are turned into real menu items by professional recipe makers and chefs with much research, and by going through a trial-and-error creative process.

ABOUT THE LOGO ロゴマークについて

You obviously have noticed the airplane in our logo. This is derived from Doug’s second hobby, aviation. Doug is an aviation nut, so much so that he obtained a pilot’s license and eventually ended up buying his own airplane.

An airplane is a modern-day magic carpet. When you take a commercial flight, in such a small and confined space of the airplane, so many emotions are blended. Happy, sad, angry, tearful, laughing, young and old, vacations and business trips, new beginnings and farewells, all in the same airplane.

We would like to think that the airplane in our logo is filled with joy and happiness. When you come to Doug’s Burger, please take a break from your daily busy tasks and chores. As I said at the beginning, sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. The airplane in our logo is an expression of such a relaxing moment at Doug’s Burger.


At Doug’s Burger, we do not bargain with our Island food suppliers (i.e., meat and vegetables, etc.). It is our absolute and highest mission to pay an appropriate and fair value for the goods provided, and we sincerely hope that the Island suppliers are enriched along with us. This is the result of the fact that we have chosen to live with the Island, because we are a part of the Island. Without this mission, Doug’s Burger loses sight of the purpose of its existence.  

It is also our mission not only to provide you with the best tasting food possible, but with the best service possible. And it is also our goal to spread the message of Doug from Miyako-jima to Japan and even beyond.

If you are interested in becoming a franchise member of Doug’s Burger in your country,
please write us at: info@dougsburger.com

Finally, despite the fact that the hamburger is commonly seen as an American food, we have not forgotten to add a sprinkle of Japanese flavor. Our logo is designed so that it looks partly like calligraphy to proudly symbolize “Made in Japan”. And we have also secretly embedded the concept of “Made in Japan” in our menu items. For example, instead of Western mustard, we use Japanese mustard in our hamburgers. The Tuna Steak Burger takes a dive into soy sauce and Wasabi dip, and our famous Onion Rings contain Japanese “Dashi” within its batter mixture before they are covered with breadcrumbs.

Our food is prepared with the blessings of Miyako-jima, just for you. I hope that you enjoy the experience, because we enjoy serving you, and “ITADAKIMASU”!


Sincerely yours,