New Brunch Spot in Kailua Opens Later This Month

Over Easy, run by alums of Alan Wong’s, will serve traditional and specialty breakfast and lunch dishes.


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Couple Nik and Jennifer Lobendahn are opening Over Easy, a new brunch spot, in Kailua this month.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox

 

Jennifer and Nik Lobendahn had the idea to open a restaurant even before they got married six years ago.

 

In fact, the couple told guests at their wedding at Kualoa Ranch to help them fund their restaurant dream.

 

“We knew we wanted to open a place together,” says Jennifer, 34. “But we really didn’t start looking until two years ago.”

 

Last November, the couple, now married with two kids, signed a lease on a 1,050-square-foot space on Ku‘ulei Road. The restaurant, called Over Easy, will serve traditional and specialty breakfast and lunch dishes, including a custard French toast made with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal; an extra-crispy buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with cole slaw and an Asian aioli; and kālua pig hash with Okinawan potatoes, lomi tomatoes and poached eggs.

 

The restaurant plans to serve alcohol—mimosas for breakfast!—and eventually hold special wine dinners. It’s a small space, with about 30 seats indoors and 12 outside, so it won’t be accepting reservations at first.

 

They’ve spent the past few months renovating the space and raising money on Kickstarter—69 people pledged $11,852 last month—to open by the end of this month.

 

 

The outside of Over Easy, which opens at the end of the month. It’s located right behind Lēʻahi Health on Ku‘ulei Road.

 

Why brunch?

 

“It’s the only meal where you get sweet and savory and you can really enjoy both at the same time,” says Nik, 37. “You get a bite of sweet, a bite of savory. It’s a feel-good time. I just like that concept.”

 

Here’s the couple’s story: They met about nine years ago while working at Alan Wong’s Honolulu. She started there dicing pineapples—“It took me an hour!”—and he was a cook. She didn’t last very long in the kitchen, going back to school for an accounting degree. He went on to work there for four more years, butchering all the meat and fish and leading the morning prep team.

 

They traveled Asia for a couple of months, then eventually moved to San Francisco. She worked as an accountant for different restaurants; he worked at the now-defunct, Michelin-starred Ame Restaurant and Taj Campton Place. All this, and they never lost sight of their goal of opening their own restaurant.

 

“I love taking people to a new place or back to childhood,” Nik says about his passion for cooking. “I love providing dishes that may not look familiar, but taste familiar, where you get the warm fuzzy insides. I love to cook, but I love what food does to people.”

 

When they moved to Hawai‘i back more than three years ago, Nik worked as the executive chef at the Kapolei Golf Course, garnering a loyal following for his blueberry cream cheese pancakes, which will be on the menu at Over Easy.

 

“It’s not just your basic eggs and toast,” Jennifer says. “We’re offering something a little more refreshing.”

 

418 Ku‘ulei Road, Kailua, no reservations, parking at a nearby municipal parking lot for 75 cents an hour, overeasyhi.com

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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