Kikuya restaurant opens in Windward Mall

Windward Mall is pleased to welcome Kāne‘ohe Kikuya Japanese Restaurant to the Center on Monday, Feb. 14. The popular restaurant has been part of the Kāne‘ohe community for more than 40 years serving a variety of traditional Japanese teishoku dishes.

It is located on the upper level of the mall across Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union.

“We are so excited to welcome Kāne‘ohe Kikuya Japanese Restaurant to Windward Mall and invite the community to continue dining at this popular locally owned restaurant,” said Cesar Topacio, general manager of Windward Mall. “We are honored to be part of Kikuya’s legacy in Kāne‘ohe.”

Owner Calvin Dang took over the family-owned restaurant in 2016 when the original owners retired. Dang previously worked at Kikuya for 10 years, learning all of the traditional cooking techniques from the original owners. Since taking over, Dang has kept everything the same — from the staff to the menu to the cooking techniques — and in this new location, he plans to keep the same menu and concept that focuses on Japanese-style home cooking.

The new restaurant will also have outdoor seating and serve specialty sakes and Japanese beers.

“I’m very happy that we’re able to move to Windward Mall; it’s like a dream come true for me,” said Dang, who lived in Kāne‘ohe for years when he first came to O‘ahu from Vietnam. “Before I even worked at the old Kikuya restaurant, I’d always eat, shop and walk around Windward Mall, and I used to think, ‘Wow, what if I had a restaurant here?’ And now it’s happening.”

Kikuya has seen customers come in for generations to celebrate birthdays, special events or family gatherings. Some customers started coming to Kikuya as kids with their grandparents and they continue to come because of the great memories shared there. Loyal customers tell Dang they are excited for the new location with more parking and convenience than before.

Many regulars know Kikuya for its variety of menu items, including the most popular dinner teishoku.

The restaurant will also showcase art by local Kāne‘ohe artist Naoki Hayashi who creates gyotaku prints. As an avid diver and fisher, Hayashi views each gyotaku as a window into the underwater world he sees when diving in Hawai‘i’s beautiful ocean waters. His art features fish in true-life color and in compositions that reflect how they are found in nature. Because of his deep respect for the ocean and its creatures, Hayashi only creates gyotaku art from fish that will be eaten. Each of his gyotaku pieces is both a record of a fish and a meal shared with friends and family.

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About Windward Mall

Located at the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Haʻikū Road in Kāne‘ohe, Windward Mall offers shoppers from the Windward side and beyond a mix of national and local retailers with an emphasis on a family-friendly atmosphere. Anchored by Macy’s, Ross Dress for Less, and Regal Cinemas the mall also features more than 100 stores and eateries. More information is available at Windward Mall is owned by Kamehameha Schools.