Crushing it: New Lubbock teriyaki restaurant becomes quick success

·3 min read

Love, faith and teriyaki sauce are the key ingredients in the success of Lubbock's newest Asian-fusion restaurant.

Two years ago, the fan-favorite and locally-owned China Max and Little Tokyo in the South Plains Mall turned off their burners for the last time. The decision crushed the owners, but there was hope for a new location.

After a two-year hiatus, Kevin Lian and James Zheng, and their families, finally reopened their business with a new name and location. Crush Teriyaki & Wok at 5109 82nd St., Unit #9, opened in mid-February 2023.

The restaurant serves two categories - wok dishes and teriyaki dishes. Wok entrées allow customers to chose a noodle or rice base, then select a number of entrée toppings like orange chicken or broccoli beef. Teriyaki dishes also offer different meat combinations, including shrimp.

Crush Teriyaki & Wok, 5109 82nd St., Unit #9, offers a selection of Asian-fusion cuisine.
Crush Teriyaki & Wok, 5109 82nd St., Unit #9, offers a selection of Asian-fusion cuisine.

Ellen Peng, Lian's wife, said they have been humbled by the community's love and support. Since opening, Crush's Facebook has gained more than 2,400 followers and 2,000 likes.

"We don't feel special or unique at all, and being remembered by so many customers shocked us, sincerely," Peng said. "People just showed up, and people just spread the word."

Peng attributed Crush's ongoing success to several things: their homemade teriyaki sauce, ongoing determination to do better, and most of all, the welcoming Lubbock community that loves locally-owned business.

"We are just a casual Asian restaurant, and we try our best to control the food quality and freshness," Peng said. "Cooking is our language. We're grateful for people being so tolerant and supportive of us. Thank you, to our customers."

The families have been overwhelmed by the excitement and praise they have received since their initial reopening announcement.

"This experience has changed us, we never knew there would be this much support, and that we would be loved by so many people," Peng said. "We feel so much gratitude. We almost gave up ... and if we had moved (out of Lubbock), we never would have known."

Crush Teriyaki & Wok, 5109 82nd St., Unit #9, prepares to open before lunch on Friday, March 3, 2023.
Crush Teriyaki & Wok, 5109 82nd St., Unit #9, prepares to open before lunch on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Even the restaurant's name, Crush, is a testament to the family's journey to reopening the business, and the support they received. Peng said they felt "crushed" when they closed the restaurants.

"Before the covid pandemic hit the world and 'crushed' us, we had been running an Asian restaurant in Lubbock for more than 10 years as a local business," the business said on their social media. "Many customers and friends reached out to us through social platforms, leaving us encouraging, heart-warming messages and always wondering when we would reopen. Their support and love, like sparks forming a burning flame, lit up the dark life that had come to a standstill, and this is why the letter U in our logo is a heart-shaped spark."

Crush, according to, means to press or squeeze with a force that destroys or deforms. The verb has also been used in a positive connotation, i.e. if someone is "crushing it," it means that person is excelling at what they are doing. Peng also mentioned they have come to use crush, as in they have a "crush" of appreciation for their customers.

People can keep up with Crush Teriyaki & Wok on Facebook.

Alana Edgin is a journalist covering Business News in Lubbock and the surrounding area. Send her a news tip at 

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Lubbock welcomes Crush Teriyaki & Wok after two-year hiatus