— -- Jack King definitively loves Benihana more than anyone else in the country.
King, 51, managed to dine at the Asian restaurant chain a whopping 579 times in 2014, which averages to more than 1.5 times a day.
“I went seven days a week this year,” King told ABC News. “And if I was out of town in a bigger market, I’d hit a couple a day.”
King took his love for his favorite restaurant to the next level after the chain announced its “Passport Challenge,” a yearlong promotion that awarded the top-frequenting visitor with a free trip for two to the Benihana location of his choice and a $1,000 gift card.
"Jack is a regular and a very nice customer,” Salt Lake City Benihana manager TJ Chagzoetsang told ABC News. “We had quite a few people participate, but in our region nobody came even close to him. We’re very happy for him.”
Though more than 19,000 people took part in the challenge, no one even came close to King’s record – the next highest visit number was 300 visits, according to King.
"I already eat at Benihana a lot anyway, and then I was encouraged by the manager so I figured I’ll do this and eat healthy,” he said. “It wasn’t really that big of a deal since it’s sort of two restaurants in one where I can eat from the teppan table one day and the sushi lounge the next and change it up a bit.”
King usually went for lunch at the Salt Lake City location and got either the salmon lunch boat with brown rice or the shrimp and chicken express lunch with brown or fried rice.
By the end of the year, King was down 20 pounds and about $6,900.
“Average meal with tip is about $12 and anytime I go eat out for lunch anyway it’s $7 to $15 anywhere, so I think it’s good value for the money and I think they do a good job and keep things pretty healthy,” he said.
King hasn’t decided where he’ll take his trip for two yet, but he’s leaning toward Key West, Florida or Anchorage, Alaska.
In the meantime, he’s still visiting his local restaurant.
“Not seven days a week, no, but back to my average three or four,” King said. “It’s my favorite restaurant.”