Hawaii restauranteurs call on Gov. David Ige to act

Citing losses of up to 80 percent, and noting that switching to take-out and delivery is not enough to sustain most businesses, the chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association this week called on Hawaii Gov. David Ige to do more.

The “plea for help” includes suggestions for a business sustainment package of government actions that could help, and asks the governor to be “careful and considerate as possible when introducing new mandates specific to independent small businesses.”

The letter can be found here, and is reprinted below in full. Restauranteurs are invited to join as signatories to the letter via a Google Sheets spreadsheet, which already has over 340 names.

Dear Governor Ige,

As fears of COVID-19 continue, we are thankful for your compassionate and supportive leadership through these unknown times. We realize you are making difficult decisions to keep all of us and our loved ones safe. The Hawaii Restaurant Association, is writing to you as a plea for help and expedient action.

This week’s directive for all Hawaii restaurants to cease dine-in operations and close all bars and clubs, while necessary for public health and safety is having a very swift and deleterious impact on restaurant sales. All bars and clubs are immediately impacted. Many restaurants that serve hot pot, yakiniku, and buffets are not able to offer take out food and have zero income. Most other full service restaurants serving take out meals are experiencing sales decreases of up to 80%.

Our industry will not survive the upcoming weeks without significant assistance from our state government and, more directly, your personal involvement and help. We need our state government to take an active role in guiding us through these challenging next months and ensuring that a variety of financial safety nets are in place to make sure the restaurant industry can survive while and after they comply with the state directive and aid in improving the safety of our community.

Restaurants are a low margin business, buying food that is perishable. Many restaurants have accrued extensive labor costs in preparation for the hours, days, and in the case of preserved foods, even weeks in advance. Many of us do not have the infrastructure or menus to pivot and depend on takeout and delivery sales. While we are scrambling to create these new business models, time is running out every day as our cash reserves deplete. In many cases, restaurants only have a few weeks of reserve cash to rely on. Time is of the essence.

In addition, many are responsible to pay for their employees’ health insurance during this time, at a huge cost. In addition, many third-party delivery services do not have the infrastructure to support the huge influx of restaurants that will need their services.

Takeout and delivery only cannot support our immediate or future cash needs. Our costs are much higher than the income takeout and delivery can generate, and our bills are due now.

We have discussed the following ideas and believe their implementation would greatly increase the chances of our industry’s survival. Given that your office directed all restaurants in Hawaii to cease dine-in operations, the state should impose programs and policies such as the following to mitigate the adverse impact COVID-19 and the mandates are having on our business’s viability. Seriously consider any and all of the following actions to include in a business sustainment package.

  • Call for abatement of rent and mortgage payments (with incentives, if necessary) from all landlords and lending institutions, respectively, starting in March and until the mandate is lifted and the economy recovers sufficiently.
  • Abatement of sales tax in Q1 and Q2.
  • Abatement of payroll tax in Q1 and Q2.
  • Relax and forgive late payment fines and fees on GET for up to the next 6 months.
  • Make dollar for dollar tax credits available to employers who provide and pay for employee health insurance during layoffs.
  • Call for statewide abatement of utilities and municipal fees effective March 15 and until 60 days after mandate is lifted.
  • Call for payment processors to waive merchant fees in Q2.
  • Pay unemployment to all restaurant employees 100% of their average wages over 2 quarters.
  • Temporarily authorize the sale of un-opened alcoholic beverages in original containers for off premise sale by on-premise only restaurant and bar club licensees.
  • Forgive employers’ unemployment insurance rate increases.
  • Call for the state’s health insurance providers to extend health benefits for all employees with current employer paid health insurance who are laid off; or cover COBRA expenses.
  • Consider increasing the Tip Credit up to $5 resulting in a $6.10 employer paid wage as long as the tipped employee’s total hourly wage is at least $17 per hour in order to decrease layoffs and provide livable wages beyond the minimum wage to all staff.

In addition, we ask that you be as careful and considerate as possible when introducing new mandates specific to independent small businesses under 500 employees that could potentially deplete our funds further rather than support our ability to re-open and operate as normal. We are discussing additional remedies for our industry and trust that you and the legislators will provide the necessary leadership to help our industry navigate to better times.

We realize this list is long and there are hurdles to overcome in their implementation, but they are all necessary to increase our chances of survival and therefore our ability to continue to employ and provide for our dedicated staff. Protecting our employees means also making sure they have jobs to return to when this pandemic is over. We trust that you will make the right decisions and act swiftly to save our businesses.

Did you know that in Hawa’i there were:

  • 3,665 eating and drinking place locations in 2018?
  • $5.6 billion in estimated sales in restaurants in 2018?
  • 98,900 restaurant & food service jobs in 2019 = 15% of employment in the state?

As members of the hospitality community, we’re programmed to take care of others and are ready to help our community in this time of need, but this time we are also asking you to protect and support us. The industry that has been a cornerstone of our economy and feeding Hawaii for the last century is facing an existential threat. Time is short to provide the necessary remedies to save it.

Respectfully,

Tom Jones
Chairman
The Hawaii Restaurant Association

Add your signature to the HRA letter to Hawaii Gov. David Ige here.

Food-A-Go-Go launched to support Hawaii restaurants during COVID-19 crisis

The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation (HAF), in cooperation with many of its partners, will replace its Localicious campaign over the next few weeks with a campaign to support all Hawaii restaurants who are open for takeout and delivery during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The new initiative – Food-A-Go-Go – asks customers to consider takeout, delivery or curbside pickup as an alternative means of providing meals for their families in order to help our local restaurants that have had to close in-room dining.

Customers can go to FoodAGoGo.org to find the latest up-to-date information on all restaurants that remain open with delivery, takeout or curbside pickup options.  All Hawaii restaurants, from mom-and-pop to fine dining, are welcome to participate and can submit an online form with information on their services. The initial directory was seeded from the “Hawaii Grinds @ HOME” crowdsourced list launched last week.

The launch of Food-A-Go-Go arrives in the midst of Localicious month, HAF’s month-long campaign promoting restaurants who support Hawai‘i’s farmers, ranchers and fisherman; and raises funds for HAF’s K-12 agricultural education programs. As the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the restaurant industry with business closures and staff layoffs, HAF is shifting its focus from Localicious to Food-A-Go-Go. HAF will launch new television and radio PSAs with its media partners, aimed at encourging the public to consider takeout. Community, corporate, media organizations and many others are helping by donating airtime, funding, and marketing support to promote the message.  

“We need to come together now more than ever to support our local restaurant industry and their workers, says HAF executive director Denise Yamaguchi. “Food-A-Go-Go is a completely free resource for restaurants and customers and we encourage the community to do what they can do to support our local restaurants statewide.”

“We 100% support the actions of our government leaders to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the toll these actions are taking on our restaurant and hospitality industry is devastating,” says Jason Wong, president of Sysco Hawai‘i. “Sysco Hawai‘i is proud to support Food-A-Go-Go in an effort to provide an alternative to cooking at home where you can order ready-made takeout meals from your favorite neighborhood restaurants.”

Visit FoodAGoGo.org to find a restaurant and order takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery.

About Food-A-Go-Go

Food-A-Go-Go is a community service by Hawaii Agricultural Foundation and Hawaii Food and Wine Festival supported by Sysco Hawai‘i , Hawai‘i Gas, Hawaii News Now, iHeartMedia, KITV, KONG Radio, 94.7KUMU, KWXX, KNWB, B97 Hilo, B93 Kona, KPOA 93.5, KJKS KISS 99.9, Hawai ʻi Restaurant Association, Digital Illustrations, First Daughter Media, Library Creative, Mākaha Studios.

About Hawaii Agricultural Foundation

The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization created to promote agriculture and farming. Established in 2007, HAF’s mission is to support and sustain Hawai‘i ’s agricultural industry by addressing critical needs and services of farmers and the agricultural industry, and by better connecting the farmers with the community and vice-versa. For more information, visit HawaiiAgFoundation.org

New Waikiki Sunset Dinner Cruise Launching on Valentine’s Day

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.

Ono Loco Tacos opening in Wahiawa

Ono Loco Tacos is opening a second taco shop location in Wahiawa, adding their authentic Mexican recipes and flavors to the booming culinary scene of Honolulu.

To celebrate the second grand opening, Ono Locos Tacos is hosting a three-day grand opening on April 12, building up to the final day on April 14.

Ono Loco Tacos is Oahu’s only eatery serving Certified Angus Beef and they proudly source authentic tortillas from Los Angeles. The taco shop’s Oaxacan Mole is a rare find on the island.

Weekly specials available at Ono Loco Tacos:

  • Taco Tuesday: $2 Street Tacos, your choice of meat (excludes fish & shrimp)
  • Military Wednesday: special discount with valid military ID
  • 5-Star Promotions: Specials for Thursday-Saturday are texted out on Wednesday

Located at 167 South Kamehameha Highway, the family-owned taqueria is open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menu includes customer favorites like Street Tacos, Burritos, Sopes, Chile Relleno, Lengua, Nachos, Flan, Mexican Fried Ice Cream and more.

About Ono Loco Tacos:

Ono Loco Tacos is an authentic Oaxacan taqueria determined to provide flavorful, fresh food made with quality ingredients. A family-owned business, the team at Ono Loco Tacos prides themselves on supporting the local community through community church donations, locally sourcing produce and investing time to train young employees for career advancement. Ono Loco Tacos is proud to be Blue Zone certified, giving customers more options to make healthier choices. http://onolocotacos.com

Plate lunch to represent Hawaii at ‘Flavored Nation’

Kai Cowell of Kaiulani Spices has been chosen to represent Hawaii at Flavored Nation’s inaugural event, serving the state’s iconic plate lunch (with kalua pig and pineapple rice) to thousands of food enthusiasts – alongside chefs and restaurateurs from 49 other states.

Flavored Nation is a new national food experience, kicking off in the Midwest and bringing with it a nationwide selection tastes and talent.

Through extensive research conducted by a team of culinary experts and food entertainment veterans, Flavored Nation has identified the most iconic food from each of the 50 states. Those 50 dishes – as well as the restaurateurs or chefs who prepare them best – will travel to the St. Louis’ Dome at America’s Center, October 27-29, giving up to 12,000 attendees the chance to feast on “a taste of every state.”

Plate lunch comes from Hawaii’s immigrant culture of the 1880s, when plantation workers would make carb heavy lunches from leftovers to sustain them through the long days in the sugar and pineapple fields, Flavored Nation explains.

Cowell is originally from the Philippines and has lived in Hawaii since 1976. She was born into a family of cooks, attended culinary school and began creating her own spice blends ten years ago at her home on the side of a hill above Honolulu. Today, Cowell’s spice blends – which she uses in her plate lunch recipe – can be purchased online and in stores throughout Hawaii, as well as tasted in dishes at some of Waikiki’s most popular restaurants. Her first cookbook will come out this fall.

Flavored Nation is spearheaded by its executive producer Richard Gore, who has been developing live culinary entertainment since the mid-1990s (back when food events weren’t a thing). He served as president of live events at Food Network and led the development of “Food Network Live” and “Food University™ at Caesars Palace,” in addition to creating “eat-ertainment” marketing campaigns for brands like Heinz, P&G, Unilever, Ikea and Family Circle.

At Gore’s side are fellow food entertainment veterans, David Rosengarten, Jared Bobkin and Bobby Parrish. Rosengarten is a two-time James Beard award winning food writer and was one of the first on-air talents at Food Network. He hosted “Food News & Views” then created and hosted the program “Taste,” which ran for eight years. He’s now Flavored Nation’s head of content. Bobkin is a Detroit-area executive chef who made it to the final rounds of FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen” season 15. He’s also Flavored Nation’s culinary director, conducting nationwide research with Rosengarten to determine the United States’ iconic foods and top eateries. Parrish, a Chicago native, is a home cook whose online brand FlavCity has a social following of more than 400K. He appeared on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” in 2006 and is now the friendly face of Flavored Nation’s online video series.

“America is incredibly passionate about food, which has moved from our plates to our screens and become a core part of today’s pop culture” said Gore. “For cooks and non-cooks alike, how we speak about food today is not how we talked about it 15 years ago. Food is reviewed, read about and watched on TV; and our social lives often revolve around eating. However, in a nation of documented culinary diversity, most people’s personal food experience is still limited to local geography and some occasional travel. It’s why a Chicagoan can argue extensively about the city’s best deep dish but has never tried chislic or huddish… the iconic foods of South Dakota and Minnesota, respectively. This is the perfect time for Flavored Nation. We want to fuel debate about local favorites and at the same time spur discovery people crave, providing access to 49 other state dishes that, for most, will be brand new.”

The vendors who will be in attendance include chefs and restaurateurs almost as iconic as the state dishes they’ll represent.

“No one wrote a guidebook on how to authentically identify the United States’ most iconic foods,” said Rosengarten. “It’s been an amazing adventure and challenge. Some states, like Louisiana, California and New York, are well known for multiple dishes. For other states, like South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, I personally drew a blank. Through exhaustive research, consumer input via social media and conversations with state tourism boards, we’ve mapped it out. Now, we’re stacking our roster. Restaurants and chefs can’t buy their way in. This is invite only, and we’ll be bringing the best of the best for an unrivaled culinary experience this fall at Flavored Nation.”

For more information on Flavored Nation, and to purchase tickets, visit www.flavorednation.com. Also follow Flavored Nation on Facebook (facebook.com/flavorednation), Twitter and Instagram (@flavorednation), and share your iconic food passions by using the hashtag #flavorednation.

Sam Choy to develop student dining at Aloha Tower

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) today announced a partnership with Hawaii’s famed local chef, Sam Choy, who will help develop the university’s newest student dining facility at its Aloha Tower Marketplace location. HPU is the first university in the state of Hawaii to highlight Hawaii Regional Cuisine, as popularized by Chef Choy, and infuse it into the design of both a menu and student dining space.

“HPU is actively changing the student experience in our downtown community, and I am honored to be a part of a project for Honolulu’s next generation of leaders as well as to participate in the revitalization of the historic Aloha Tower Marketplace,” said Chef Sam Choy. “Food brings people together, and this prime location will welcome students, other members of our island community and visitors from around the world to experience the comforts of Pacific inspired cuisine in an exquisite gathering place.”

“The HPU ohana warmly welcomes Chef Choy and his culinary mastery to further provide unique, landmark services for our students,” said John Gotanda, President of HPU. “Visitors to the campus, who will be welcome to dine in the facility, will accentuate the diverse student experience HPU is known for.”

Though the student dining facility has yet to be named, Chef Sam Choy will be at the helm of that decision as well as crafting the menu and assisting with the selection of food items and vendors. Chef Choy will also assist with space planning, design details, and selecting the management team to handle day-to-day operations of the restaurant. The student dining facility will be located in the last space on the right of the Aloha Tower Marketplace Atrium, providing students and visitors yet another waterfront dining option in the mixed-use commercial residential and commercial center.

Chef Sam Choy has been creating cuisine with fresh, local island ingredients since he was a boy learning to cook alongside his parents. Sourcing and cooking with the traditional foods of Hawaii, Chef Choy’s native intelligence and culinary creativity have led him to co-create and popularize Hawaii Regional Cuisine around the globe.

Nearly 270 HPU students live in waterfront lofts on the second floor of the Aloha Tower Marketplace. On the ground floor, students currently have access to HPU facilities including the Learning Commons, Faculty-Student Lounge, and multi-purpose rooms; HPU offices such as Welcome Center, Student Life, Waterfront Lofts Housing, Student Government Association, and Campus Activities Board; and various retail and dining options. Living at the Waterfront Lofts also provides easy access to many amenities, activities, and public transportation in downtown Honolulu.

Founded in 1965, Hawaii Pacific University has grown to become the state’s leading private, non-profit university, with a student population of nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and nearly 65 countries around the world. It has campuses in downtown Honolulu, Kāneohe, and Makapuu, and on military bases around Oahu. The Wall Street Journal, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and USA Today have each named HPU among the most diverse private universities in the nation. www.HPU.edu

Stripsteak Waikiki unveils Aloha Lunch menu

Stripsteak-Waikiki-Lobster-Tacos-David Murphey.jpg

Stripsteak Waikiki has launched a new, Aloha Lunch menu with special prix fixe options featuring fresh seafood and locally-sourced ingredients accompanying Michael Mina’s contemporary steakhouse cuisine. The Aloha Lunch starts at $37.50 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) and highlights a selection of healthy and light starters paired with popular entrées where guests are able to choose one appetizer and one main dish.

Light bites featured in the prix fixe offerings include local favorites such as, “Instant Bacon” with kurobuta pork belly, tempura oyster and black pepper soy-glaze, Chilled Lobster Tacos with Maui gold pineapple, avocado cream and red bell peppers; and Thai Calamari Ceviche with green papaya, carrots, crushed peanuts and “leche de tigre.”

Popular main entrée selections featured in the Aloha Lunch special include Michael’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with kale salad, Asian pear, toasted pine nuts, sesame and mint; Free-Range Chicken with Okinawan potatoes, baby spinach and Hau‘ula tomato-curry sauce; and the Stripsteak Burger with caramelized Maui onions, Nueske’s bacon, American cheese and a side of Michael Mina’s duck fat fries.

Guests also have the option of ordering á la carte selections including an assortment of fresh seafood flown in daily including shellfish, sushi and sashimi. From the broiler, options featured on the lunch menu include hearty cuts of Moyer Farms Steaks served with fries and Citrus Grilled Fish served with quinoa pilaf. Lunch libations are mixed daily into unique concoctions including the bartender’s special selection served in a Lunch Punch.

Located on the International Market Place’s Third-Level Grand Lanai at 2330 Kalākaua Avenue, lunch is offered daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with expansive indoor and outdoor seating ideally suited for business lunches. Kama‘āina are eligible for a 10% discount until the end of November with proof of residency. Reservations are highly recommended. Validated valet and self-parking is available at the International Market Place.

Stripsteak Waikiki opened on Aug. 25 and the Aloha Lunch special is the precursor to the restaurant’s participation in this year’s Restaurant Week Hawai‘i from Nov. 14-20, with more details to be released later this fall. Daily lunch service is followed by afternoon pau hana, available at the bar from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, please visit STRIPSTEAKWaikiki.com, Facebook.com/STRIPSTEAKRestaurant and @STRIPSTEAKHI on Instagram and Twitter.

Hawaii Restaurant 2016 ‘Hall of Fame’ Inductees Named

hawaii-restaurant-association-cover-photoThe Hawaii Restaurant Association is hosting its 10th annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday.

The inductees are select individuals who have “demonstrated dedication and commitment to the growth of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii, contributed to the enhancement of its quality and image, and demonstrated service through outreach.”

The Hall of Fame was the brainchild of then director Gail Ann Chew. Current Hall of Fame program chair Anne Lee said:

The Hall of Fame was to honor all of the old time restaurants. In the past, when you thought of Hawaii and food, you would always remember certain restaurants that you had gone to frequently.  How can anyone forget local institutions like Columbia Inn, Flamingos, Kings Bakery, Wo Fat, Hamura Saimin, Manago Hotel, Tip Top, and the list goes on and on, or people like Lyle and Grace Guslander and so many more people who shaped Hawaii’s culinary landscape.

Many of these iconic restaurants are no longer here, this Hall of Fame was created to remember and honor the pioneers that have paved the way for many in our industry today.  September 19th, 2016  marks a decade of honoring these leaders.

The event will feature a “Chefs of Aloha Dine-Around,” emceed by Kanoa Leahey and guest presenters Chef Alan Wong and Honolulu Magazine Food Editor Catherine Toth-Fox.

Proceeds will benefit the HRA Scholarship Program at the University of Hawaii Community Colleges.

The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees:

OAHU

  • Mark Shishido – Wine Director Alan Wong’s
  • Dr. John Morton – VP for UH Community Colleges
  • Edward Doty – Eagle Distributors/JMD Beverages
  • Alicia and Raymond Kam – Alicia’s Market
  • Mel and Lynn Tanioka – Tanioka’s Seafood and Catering
  • David Nagaishi – Ocean House, Pounders at PCC (Deceased)
  • Jacqueline Lau – Roy’s Hawaii

KAUAI

  • Bob and Christine French – Brennecke’s Beach Broiler

MAUI

  • Aaron Placourakis – President / CEO Tri Star Restaurant Group, JAS Restaurants & AMP Restaurants, LTD.

HAWAII ISLAND

  • Debra Ching Maiava and Ric Maiava – Ken’s House of Pancakes

LEGACY MEMBERS

  • Zippy’s (FCH Enterprises) – 50th Year Anniversary
  • Aloha Shoyu – 70th year Anniversary

The “Dine Around” will feature chefs from the past nine years:

  • 2016 – Chef Mark Noguchi – MISSION Social Hall & Café
  • 2015 – Chef Freddie Billena – Pōmaika’i Ballrooms
  • 2014 – Chef James Aptakin – MAC 24/7
  • 2014 – Chef Ken Mackenzie – Tommy Bahama
  • 2014 – Chef Marc Anthony Freiberg – Mariposa
  • 2013 – Chef Jesse Cruz – Lucky Belly and Livestock Tavern
  • 2013 – Chef Cyrus Goo – Café Laufer
  • 2012 – Chef Long – Prima
  • 2011 – Chef Roger Dikon – Regency Culinary Services and HRC founding chef
  • 2010 – Chef Goran Streng – Tango Contemporary Café
  • 2009 – Chef Matt Young – Hula Grill
  • 2009 – Chef Keith Kong – Duke’s Waikiki
  • 2008 – Chef Chai Chaowasaree – Chef Chai’s
  • 2007 – Chef Russell Siu – 3660 on the Rise / Kaka’ako kitchen

About The Hawaii Restaurant Association

The Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade organization, together with the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, is dedicated to representing, educating and promoting the restaurant, food service, hospitality and tourism industries. The HRA provides access to the support and resources that industry professionals need to maintain a thriving business and serves as a contributing member of the unique and diverse restaurant community here in Hawaii.

Aloha Tower to Host Friday Night Farmers’ Market

hfb-2The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and Hawaii Pacific University have joined forces to develop Honolulu’s newest Farmers’ Market, opening on Friday, August 5, 2016 at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Running from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., the market will continue every Friday night at the waterfront location.

The new market brings together the expertise of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, creators of Honolulu’s finest Farmers’ Markets, and the unique location of the historic Aloha Tower Marketplace.

“This is a great location for us,” said Brian Miyamoto, Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. “It’s extremely convenient for Downtown workers and for the residents of the areas condos, who haven’t had such convenient access to our markets in the past. And because it’s in the late afternoon and early evening, our shoppers will have a chance to stop and enjoy the sunset at Aloha Tower, which is spectacular.”

Stephanie Blakeman, Director of Promotions and Marketing at the Aloha Tower Marketplace, is also excited to offer the community a new experience. “This is something we’ve been thinking about since we re-opened the Aloha Tower Marketplace last August,” Blakeman said. “It’s a great way to invite the community down to the Tower and experience what we have always intended to be a community gathering place. It also gives our students extremely convenient access to the best produce and local products available. The fact that we get to work with the Farm Bureau and support Hawaii agriculture is a nice bonus.”

This newest location adopts the character of a night market, which are growing in popularity across the nation. The Aloha Tower Night Market will feature an assortment of offerings from the Farm Bureau’s top providers. Produce and prepared foods, eat-it-there or take-it-home, the Aloha Tower Night Market will provide a new place to gather, explore, and rediscover the contribution of Hawaii’s farmers and purveyors.

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About the Hawaii Farm Bureau:

The Hawaii Farm Bureau (HFB) was founded in 1948 and is a statewide nonprofit organization nearly 2,000 farm families united for the purpose of analyzing problems and formulating action to ensure the future of agriculture thereby promoting the well-being of farming and the State’s economy. HFB serves as Hawaii’s voice of agriculture to protect, advocate and advance the social, economic and educational interest of our Hawaii’s diverse agricultural community.

About Hawaii Pacific University:

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) is Hawaii’s leading independent, non-profit university. With its core campus in the heart of Honolulu’s business district, and campuses at Makapuu Point, Kaneohe, and Oahu military bases, HPU offers students a distinct blend of small class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities, and global perspectives, with more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs for those seeking an educational adventure in the center of the Pacific Rim.

Photos courtesy Hawaii Farm Bureau.

12 Isle Eateries Among Top 100 Outdoor Dining Spots

delete_thumb_600Hot on the heels of yesterday’s “Top 100 Places to Eat” list from Yelp comes the “100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants” from OpenTable. For this list, ranking eateries where you dine outdoors, a dozen Hawaii restaurants made the cut.

“These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” notes OpenTable in its report. “The complete list features winning restaurants in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and … the scenic state of California claims almost half the number of winning restaurants with 44, followed by Florida with 13, Hawaii with 12, and Arizona with eight.”

100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America 2016 – Hawaii