L&L Hawaiian Barbecue opened its 205th location on Thursday, July 30, in Nanakuli. The new restaurant is the second L&L franchise owned and operated by brothers Jun Chow and Zi Yuan Zhou, both of whom emigrated from Zhongshan, China in the 1990s.
The 1,200 square foot restaurant with indoor dining for 12-15 is located at the newly built Nanakuli Village Center at 89-102 Farrington Hwy, Suite E6, Waianae, HI 96792 and will be open initially for take-out service only from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
L&L has already opened five new restaurants this year in California and Arizona, many during the Covid-19 shutdowns. The Nanakuli location marks the first new franchise in Hawaii since 2018. It will offer L&L favorites such as Barbecue Chicken, Chicken Katsu, Kalua Pork with Cabbage, Loco Moco, and more entrée staples, all served with two scoops of rice and mac salad. In addition, this is the first L&L to install a full-scale roaster and as a result it will also offer Roast Pork, Roast Duck and Char Sui on the menu.
“We are excited to expand our brand with a second location along the Waianae Coast,” said L&L Hawaii CEO Elisia Flores. “In addition to providing our signature comfort food, our focus is on doing everything we can to ensure safety and convenience for our customers.”
For customer convenience, there is take out, and delivery and online ordering options through third party delivery services such as Byte Squad.
Flores was appointed chief executive officer and vice-chair of L&L Hawaii in August 2020. She succeeded her father, Eddie Flores, Jr., who founded the iconic brand with Johnson Kam in 1976. The company now has 206 locations throughout the U.S. and Japan, including 15 states, ranging from Alaska to North Carolina.
About L&L Hawaii
Founded in Honolulu as L&L Dairy in 1952, L&L became a popular eatery in Hawaii. The iconic L&L Hawaii brand was founded in 1976 by Eddie Flores, Jr. and Johnson Kam, who have grown the company into the most popular restaurant franchise specializing in Hawaii cuisine throughout the world. Today L&L Hawaii offers Hawaiian-style comfort food and hospitality at its nearly 200 locations throughout 14 states and Japan. For more, visit hawaiianbarbecue.com.
Grok Coffee has launched a novel coffee delivery service for the island of Oahu. Grok Coffee Delivery brings locally roasted, whole-bean coffee in reusable, environmentally friendly jars to homes and businesses. The customizable service allows customers to order and pay for freshly roasted coffee by the ounce, with the option to vary the amount with every order. Coffee lovers get the variety and convenience of a subscription service but are able to enjoy more flexibility than with traditional plans.
Grok Coffee’s selection of rotating coffees is unmatched by any other company. All coffees are roasted by Hawaii-based roasters from across the Hawaiian Islands, many of them also coffee farmers. The company takes pride in seeking out quality, under-the-radar roasters and growers. Grok Coffee founder Shawn Steiman, PhD, says, “We have amazing roasters in Hawaii who roast a wide range of Hawaii-grown and world coffees. We must support our coffee community to help it grow and thrive.” The service’s most unique aspect is the ability to purchase coffee by the ounce.
Grok Coffee Delivery works much like a traditional milk delivery system. Full jars of coffee beans are dropped off and the empty containers are picked up, washed, sanitized and reused. Grok Coffee has also partnered with local businesses to host pick-up and drop-off depots as an alternative to direct delivery. Grok Coffee’s booth at the Saturday Kaka‘ako Farmers’ Market also serves as a depot with the bonus of having Steiman to answer coffee questions in person. Customers register and manage subscriptions via Grok Coffee’s website, www.GrokCoffee.net, where they choose from the weekly Hawaii-grown or world selection, or opt for some of each. Prices typically range from $2.40-$2.80/oz. for Hawaii-grown coffees and $1.40-$1.80/oz. for world coffees. The delivery charge is $7 for Oahu deliveries. At this time, mail-order is not available.
Grok Coffee has a focused eye on environmental well-being, and every aspect of the service operates with this commitment. The glass jars and lids are plastic-free and the only waste generated is the coffee label, which is recycled. A benefit of this packaging system is a reduction in plastic use by at least 47%. “We have to choose to reduce our use of fossil fuel-based products. That choice is hard—we want to help make that choice easy,” says Steiman.
About Grok Coffee
Grok Coffee is a Honolulu-based company providing coffee bean delivery, coffee-centric tours, coffee education, and event coffee service. It is owned and operated by coffee scientist Shawn Steiman, PhD. Steiman is Hawaii’s own “Doctor Coffee,” holding a doctorate from the University of Hawaii-Mānoa specializing in coffee studies. He is an international coffee consultant and the author of The Hawaii Coffee Book: A Gourmet’s Guide from Kona to Kauai and The Little Coffee Know-It-All: A Miscellany for Growing, Roasting, and Brewing, Uncompromising and Unapologetic, and co-editor and contributor to Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry.
Hawaii continues to be the best-paying state for chefs and head cooks, according to an analysis of federal labor data by Chef’s Pencil.
Chefs in Hawaii can expect to earn on average $78,640 per year, 40 percent more than the national average. This compared to the overall average salary for a chef or head cook of $56,310. Overall, chef’s salaries increased by 8 percent year over year, the biggest increase since 2001, when the firm first started to track the data.
Garden State chefs come in second with $76,060 per year followed by those in Rhode Island, District of Columbia, and Massachusetts.
At the city level, urban Honolulu is the top paying metro in the nation with an impressive salary of $91,770 per year. Kahului, Wailuku, and Lahaina came in second with $84,240.
California’s San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara came in third with $83,490.
In fact, the top 10 percent highest paid chefs in Honolulu bring in over $145,000 per year. Other metro areas see the top 10 percent bringing in over $115,000 per year.
Meanwhile, the pay gap between cooks and chefs/head cooks continues to widen. Chefs earn now almost twice as much as cooks: 96 percent more, to be very precise.
The report was based on an analysis of data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although some metrics released by the Bureau in its annual report are now obsolete (e.g. employment numbers) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers opens its third restaurant in Hawaii on Sunday, June 14 at the Town Center of Mililani. The restaurant will be open for drive-thru and take out service only.
This location joins the recently opened Hawaii Kai drive-thru and the original King Street restaurant near the University of Hawaii.
“We operate with the highest standards of food safety, cleanliness and health,” said General Manager Charmaine Gaoiran, who is a resident of Wahiawa. “Our dining room will be closed for now, but you can still get friendly service, fresh, hot chicken and ice cold, fresh squeezed lemonade at our drive-thru or for take out.”
We are excited for the 100 new jobs this restaurant is bringing to the area,” Gaoiran added.
Along with its focus on chicken fingers, Raising Cane’s is known for its commitment to active community involvement. As the Official Chicken of University of Hawaii Athletics, Raising Cane’s is a proud Oahu community member and the Mililani Crew is looking forward to supporting Central Oahu area schools and organizations during this crisis and beyond.
They plan to celebrate with Mililani High School, University of Hawaii, Oahu SPCA and all Central Oahu Caniacs with a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony in true Raising Cane’s fashion when it is safe to do so.
Raising Cane’s has consistently ranked among the top restaurants for Overall Customer Satisfaction based on food quality, customer service, cleanliness and other important factors. Raising Cane’s has also been named a Top 10 brand for craveability and overall reputation and was recognized for having the Most Loyal Guests – known as “Caniacs” – in the fast-casual segment in Technomic’s 2018 Consumers’ Choice Awards.
Named for Graves’ yellow Labrador, Raising Cane’s has “One Love”: quality chicken finger meals. It’s signature Box Combo contains four hand battered and freshly fried chicken fingers, Cane’s Texas toast, its secret recipe sauce, coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries and an ice-cold drink with selections like fresh-squeezed lemonade or fresh-brewed iced tea.
The grand opening is expected to impact traffic within and around the Town Center of Mililani.
After it’s grand opening on Sunday, Raising Cane’s in Mililani will be open from every day from 10:00am to 10:00pm.
About Raising Cane’s:
Founded by Todd Graves in 1996 in Baton Rouge, La., RAISING CANE’S CHICKEN FINGERS has more than 500 restaurants in 27 states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with multiple new restaurants under construction. The company has ONE LOVE®—quality chicken finger meals—and is continually recognized for its unique business model and customer satisfaction. Raising Cane’s vision is to have restaurants all over the world and be the brand for quality chicken finger meals, a great crew, cool culture and active community involvement. More information is available at raisingcanes.com.
Honolulu ranks as America’s most popular city for Japanese and Korean cuisines in America, according to a report out today from Chef’s Pencil.
The state of Hawaii leads the nation in its love of sushi. And Thai is the most popular cuisine in Hawaii and Alaska.
The report is based on Google Trends data, a reliable source of consumer trends data. What is unique about the data is that it doesn’t only indicate Americans’ dining out habits, but also shows what Americans are eating at home.
Google provides data on a whole range of topics, including national cuisines, and allocates a score that indicates the level of interest in the topic. For example, Japanese cuisine will comprise hundreds or thousands of searches related to the topic such as Japanese restaurants, Japanese rice, sushi, sushi recipes, and even names of well-known local Japanese restaurants.
Google then counts how often they are used in countries, regional areas, towns and cities relative to all local searches and allocates a popularity score. For example, if New Jersey scores 100 for Indian cuisine and New York scores 80, it doesn’t mean more searches were done in New Jersey than in New York; it means a higher percentage of people in New Jersey than in New York are into Indian cuisine.
Top 5 international cuisines according to Google Trends:
HotelWailea, Hawaii’s first and only Relais & Châteaux property, has unveiled its new kitchen and experiential tasting menu to further cement its status as an incubator for culinary talent and leadership.
Envisioned by Hotel Wailea owner Jonathan McManus, and led by culinary director Chef Chris Kajioka, the three tiers of dining include a bistro-chic casual menu on the lanai of The Restaurant, a new chef tasting menu in the Secret Garden launching in early February, and the wildly popular seven-course culinary experience in The Treehouse.
Hotel Wailea is Hawaii’s only hotel to feature a Hestan equipped exhibition kitchen. The detailed-oriented space features a new layout with two custom island cooking suites explicitly designed for the team to work efficiently on both sides, an exclusive fish station to descale and clean fish, and multiple specialty stations for chefs to divide courses. One station even includes a coveted guest counter (playfully called “Table 1”) that allows them to interact with the culinary team throughout their dining experience.
Hestan, revered within culinary circles for their top of the line premium equipment has longstanding partnerships with esteemed Relais & Châteaux chefs such as Thomas Keller and with renowned institutions such as The Culinary Institute of America.
“Hotel Wailea defines both culinary innovation and elevated luxury at its core,” said owner Jonathan McManus. “Our new Hestan kitchen and restaurant developments foster my commitment to creating environments for young chefs in which to learn and thrive. In collaboration with Chef Chris Kajioka, who is instrumental to Hotel Wailea’s culinary growth and success, our joint vision is for both guests and culinary professionals to truly grasp the inner workings of a top-of-the-line kitchen and see their dishes come to life in a unique way from prep, to plate, to export.”
From a sunset toast to a counter-side course with chef commentary, the new multi-course tasting menu experience in the Secret Garden includes optional wine pairings from Level 2 Sommelier Sarah Salgado and starts at $145 per person. Premiering mid-February, the chef-driven menu includes highlights such as Venison Tartare, I’A Hou and Crab Toast with local ingredients shaping the flavor profile of the ever-changing menu. The sculpted tropical garden venue is warmly intimate, with just a handful of tables arranged on private candlelit terraces, while at the same time provides a striking behind the scenes view into the kitchen.
“The new Hestan furnished kitchen at Hotel Wailea is a chef’s dream,” says culinary director Chris Kajioka,” “The new layout allows our team to control the dining experience completely and allows our guests to dine at their own pace. With time, I envision the space evolving as a distinctive forum to host guest Chefs from around the world and introduce fresh, global perspectives.”
Hotel Wailea’s continually evolving culinary program is championed by Chef Kajioka, a semifinalist in the 2017 and 2018 James Beard Awards. Known for his internationally celebrated restaurant Senia in Oahu, of which McManus is a principal investor, and his prestigious background working at Per Se in New York, Kajioka works closely with his prodigy, Hotel Wailea’s Chef de Cuisine, Zach Soto. Kajioka, a Hawaii native, joined forces with restauranteur and hotelier, McManus, in 2016. In the past several years, the duo has made a dramatic impact on the culinary scene in Hawaii. Their upcoming Oahu project, Miro Kaimuki, has already earned a place in Robb Report’s list of “Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2020,” and the stunning new Hestan-furnished kitchen at Hotel Wailea serves as a cornerstone of immersive dining experiences in the islands.
Reservations at The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea may be booked at hotelwailea.com/rhw/ with Secret Garden tastings available on Wednesdays-Saturdays. For more information about Hotel Wailea, please visit hotelwailea.com.
About Hotel Wailea
The first and only Relais & Châteaux property in the state of Hawaii, Hotel Wailea offers travelers an ultra-private elegance infused with relaxed island luxury. The independently owned and operated, all-suite hotel finished a $15 million renovation in January 2015, reimagined as an intimate adults-only escape with 72 oversized suites and a pool overlooking three Hawaiian Islands with residential style cabanas and an apothecary style pool bar. The ideal island escape for couples recognized as “Top 21 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler in 2019, Hotel Wailea boasts an unprecedented level of intimacy, privacy and exclusivity in Hawaii. Personalized guest programming is tailored to couples and centered on unique island experiences that embody adventure, romance, and laid-back luxury. Hotel Wailea’s continually evolving culinary program boasts a unique take on seasonal dining with Hawaiian staples and Maui-grown ingredients, including from the hotel’s own organic garden. For more information, please visit www.hotelwailea.com.
King’s Hawaiian is transporting New Yorkers to the warm shores of Hawaii for a limited-time this winter with the opening of its Breakfast Bungalow, an interactive restaurant located at 1701 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan, where irresistibly delicious breakfast grindz will meet immersive experiences fit for a brunch fanatic.
Open to the public by reservation from Feb. 22 through March 1, the Breakfast Bungalow brings together soft and fluffy King’s Hawaiian breads with the culinary talent of Chef Jaime Young, whose celebrated menu at New York hotspot Sunday in Brooklyn includes some of the city’s favorite breakfast and brunch dishes. Visitors can work up an appetite by exploring several uniquely King’s Hawaiian experiences throughout the restaurant, ranging from an ocean-inspired ball pit where visitors can take a quick “swim” to a mountain top swing in the clouds.
“We are excited to welcome New Yorkers into our Ohana by bringing them our Breakfast Bungalow when they need it most – the heart of winter,” said Chad Donvito, Chief Marketing Officer at King’s Hawaiian. “We hope our interactive restaurant provides them with irresistibly delicious ideas to start their day and inspires new ways to enjoy breakfast in bread all year long thanks to King’s Hawaiian.”
Chef Young’s signature Breakfast Bungalow dishes include:
Coconut S’mores French Toast
French Toast made with King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, served with a Coconut Maple Glaze and topped with Toasted Meringue and Shaved Dark Chocolate
Spam, Scrambled Eggs, Provolone, Crispy Shoestring Potatoes and Hot Sauce Aioli stacked on a King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Roll
Hawaiian Chicken Fried Steak Katsu Sandwich
Chicken Fried Steak Katsu with Miso Hollandaise, Scrambled Eggs and Crispy Shallots on King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread
“I’ve been a fan of King’s Hawaiian since the first time I tried their Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and I’m excited to partner with them to bring a taste of Hawaii to New Yorkers,” said Chef Young. “The menu I’ve curated fuses melt-in-your-mouth King’s Hawaiian bread with my passion for great food – including next level breakfast – so whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, you won’t be leaving hungry.”
In addition to the exclusive menu items created by Chef Young, guests can enjoy the option to build a custom creation that’s all their own using King’s Hawaiian products, including Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Original Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread or Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, and more than 50 toppings and sauces.
Founded more than 60 years ago in Hilo, Hawaii, by Robert R. Taira, KING’S HAWAIIAN is a family-owned business that for three generations has been dedicated to providing irresistible, original recipe Hawaiian foods made with Aloha Spirit. A priority for the company is sharing the Hawaiian Way – a uniquely Hawaiian approach to hospitality based on graciousness, generosity, and a commitment to making everyone feel a part of the KING’S HAWAIIAN ‘ohana’ (extended family). KING’S HAWAIIAN makes the #1 branded dinner roll in the United States, along with other great Hawaiian foods including hamburger buns, hot dog buns, sandwich bread and more. The company operates baking facilities in Torrance, California, and Oakwood, Georgia. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.KingsHawaiian.com, or find KING’S HAWAIIAN on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Chef Jaime Young
Jaime Young grew up in Long Island, New York. He started his culinary career at Johnson & Wales University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in culinary nutrition. After graduation, Jaime pushed into fine dining where he worked at celebrated restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Atera in New York City. Today, Jaime is the Executive Chef and Partner of Sunday Hospitality, which includes Sunday In Brooklyn in Williamsburg and Rule Of Thirds in Greenpoint (opening in 2020), as well as Sibling Rival and Pilot at The Hoxton in Downtown Los Angeles.
Italian has become the language of love. Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the national restaurant chain with award winning Italian food, has made it easy for couples to enjoy a special Valentine’s Dinner, for only $55, February 7-16.
After a stroll on the beach, couples can unwind with a three-course prix fixe menu for two, at either Honolulu or Waikoloa Macaroni Grill locations, with a choice of one antipasti, two entrees, and one dolce (dessert) to share only for $55.
Antipasti selections include Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Stuffed Mushrooms, Calamari Fritti, Signature Mac + Cheese Bites, Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Peppadew Peppers. Entrees include Chicken Scaloppine, Grilled Salmon, Chicken Parmesan, and Shrimp Scampi or (at additional cost) Fettuccine Alfredo (with Chicken or Shrimp), Porterhouse Steak or Braised Lamb Shank. Enjoy one of these desserts to share: Romano’s Cannoli, New York Style Cheesecake, Decadent Chocolate Cake or Tiramisu.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is conveniently located at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii.
For those who are busy, Macaroni Grill Hawaii also offers online ordering, with family-friendly bundling options, including a special Feast for Five. Gift cards are also available. For a limited time, Macaroni Grill is offering a 25% off sale on digital gift cards for guests who apply the promo code VALENTINE at checkout. See macaronigrill.com.
About Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is an Italian restaurant brand founded in 1988. Inspired by Italian country cuisine, Macaroni Grill believes in an open kitchen that allows guests to see its ingredients and preparation techniques that blend Italian traditions with progressive culinary inspiration in a polished casual atmosphere. Named the No. 1 Italian Restaurant Chain in America by a Nation’s Restaurant News consumer survey, Macaroni Grill has 83 company-owned locations in 22 states, plus 21 franchise locations in the U.S. and 7 other countries.
While catamaran party boats or multi-story yachts in Waikiki are numerous, there are very few options available for an intimate, upscale sunset cruise. A new tour in Oahu aims to fill that void.
Oahu tour operator And You Creations invested just under $1 million in its new powerboat, the Ariya II, which arrived in Honolulu last month. The Ariya II will seat up to 50 guests, making it a smaller option than dinner cruises with similar offerings, such as the Star of Honolulu or The Majestic.
“We have firmed up an awesome meal and currently are have finalized the install of state-of-the-art lights, sounds and interior, ” And You Creations President Kaina Neuman said. ” We’re not holding back on costs in order to accommodate the best customer experience possible. ”
The new tour, named “Ocean and You,” launches on February 14. The boat will feature a titanic-style front deck, and LED lighting to illuminate the vessel after sunset.
One of the main attractions of Ocean and You will be the dinner served on board, prepared by local chef Elmer Guzman. Guzman owns Poke Stop, an island seafood restaurant, as well as a gourmet catering business. He has worked under prestigious names in the culinary industry, such as Emeril Lagasse, Samuel Choy and Alan Wong.
“One of our goals, when we created this menu, was to make something that people can’t find anywhere else in Waikiki,” Guzman said.
Along with island cuisine, Ocean and You attendees will enjoy live hula and Hawaiian entertainment as they cruise past Diamond Head state monument and the Waikiki coastline.
Ocean and You will operate out of Kewalo Basin Harbor in Honolulu every day of the week, with fireworks included on Fridays. To celebrate the new tour, the company is offering $30 off per person until the end of June 2020.
“Our new ARIYA, she will have all the bells and whistles and truly will be the jewel of the harbor,” And You Creations CEO Richard Holland said.
To book an Ocean and You sunset dinner cruise with And You Creations, please call (808) 696-4414. To learn more about And You Creations Tours, visit www.andyoucreations.com.
“We are so excited to bring Olive Garden to Ala Moana Center,” a company spokesperson said. “We’re opening this location through a franchise agreement with Union MAK – a successful, Hawaii-based franchise operator of casual dining restaurants. We look forward to sharing more details soon.”
Hawaii News Now
Union MAK is also the Hawaii franchisee for IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants.
After years of its TV commercials running in Hawaii, the Italian-American restaurant chain filed a $50,000 building permit for suite 3247, which is currently occupied by the Mai Tai Bar… An employee for Bubba Gump’s said the restaurant is closing on Jan. 26 to make way for Or