Coming soon: The Whole Ox Deli
In more Kakaako news, Bob McGee, formerly of Apartment3 and 12th Ave Grill, hopes to open The Whole Ox, a deli in the former Blue Ocean Thai space, by the end of February. It's a loosely-defined deli, not hewing to any particular style (i.e. Jewish, German, European), but the crux of it is utilizing local, whole animals. "Like the story goes, they don't grow T-bones, they grow cows," McGee says. So he plans to use all parts of the animal in charcuterie, sausages and cold cuts, and eventually, to host butchery classes in The Whole Ox.
It's all part of McGee's mission to strengthen Hawaii's food community. Currently, meat production in Hawaii, like many other regions in the US, is geared toward feedlot, commodity meat. Most of the cattle we do raise locally is shipped out to feedlots, and the majority of meat we consume is imported. There are many points along meat processing that need to be changed to reverse this state of affairs (i.e. policy, slaughterhouses, consumer demand), most of which McGee says he can't change. But what he can do: "I know that I can inspire more kitchens to use whole animal approaches. I know that I can inspire more of the community to demand it."
So here's the twist in The Whole Ox deli: McGee is asking for $11,000 in donations to buy the smoker he'll need to run the deli. "It's almost a test to see just how much the community believes in it's ability to change," McGee says. Will the community bite? We'll see.
Find the Whole Ox fundraising campaign page here.