5 Reasons To Support Localicious in March 2018

Local ingredients are the stars on the menus of a record 262 restaurants participating in this monthlong event.
The Ni‘ihau lamb meatloaf from 12th Ave Grill and the spaghetti alla carbonara topped with a local egg from Arancino are just two dishes on the menus of more than 260 restaurants participating in this year’s Localicious campaign.
Photos: Courtesy of 12th Ave Grill and Arancino


Five years ago, Localicious Hawai‘i launched with just over 65 restaurants participating in the inaugural monthlong event to raise money for agriculture education in Hawai‘i schools.


This year the number of participating restaurants grew to a record 262—135 of them new in 2018—and the campaign has raised, to date, more than $170,000 to provide about 70 public schools statewide with garden kits and structured agriculture-related curriculums.


“Our mission is to strengthen Hawai‘i’s agricultural industry and the future of local food production,” says Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi, executive director of the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, which runs the campaign. “Localicious restaurants are an integral part of this movement, and we thank them for coming together to make this year’s campaign the biggest ever.”


To mark its fifth year, here are five reasons why you should support Localicious. (It’s really not that hard.)


1. Local ingredients are the best, anyway

The Local Farmers Pho from Piggy Smalls features locally grown tomatoes and scallions.
Photo: Courtesy of Piggy Smalls


The whole point of Localicious is to get people to eat local. Now through March 31, participating restaurants are serving dishes marked with a Localicious logo that feature some kind of locally grown, caught or raised product. A dollar from each dish will go to support all of HAF’s various ag education programs, including Veggie U and Kids Cooking Local.


Every restaurant is featuring some kind of local ingredient—and some more than others. 12th Ave Grill in Kaimukī is offering a Niʻihau lamb meatloaf ($29) with Ho Farms broccoli spigarello, stuffed Hau‘ula tomato gratin and Small Kine Farm crimini-masala jus. Piggy Smalls at Ward Village is serving its popular Local Farmers Pho ($15) with Ho Farms tomatoes, North Shore Farms scallions in a spiced veggies and kombu broth with freshly made rice noodles. The featured salad ($11) at Hula Grill Waikīkī is packed with local ingredients, including Nalo Farms greens, Kahuku sea asparagus, Ho Farms tomatoes, Wailea Ag’s hearts of palm and onions grown in ‘Ewa.


The Localicious Salad from Hula Grill Waikīkī is brimming with local ingredients.
Photo: Courtesy of Hula Grill Waikīkī


2. It forces you to try a new restaurant


A post shared by PAI Honolulu (@paihonolulu) on


The idea that you’re supporting local farms and ag education programs is a great reason to finally book a reservation at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Pai Honolulu, which opened last year, has a tasty panzanella salad ($16 on the bar/lounge menu only) with a hazelnut romesco sauce made with Kamuela beefsteak tomatoes, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes, Kamula-grown Japanese cucumbers, Kōlea Farm purple radish and Hawaiian chili peppers and Italian basil plucked from chef-owner Kevin Lee’s neighbor’s garden.


SEE ALSO: Pai Honolulu in Downtown Serves Familiar Dishes with Unexpected Flavors


New to Ala Moana Center, The Brilliant Ox joined Localicious this year with its popular Okinawan sweet potato croquettes ($10).


SEE ALSO: First Look: The Brilliant Ox


Chef Elmer Guzman’s latest venture, Fish Hook Café in Waikīkī is participating with a decadent Avocado Toast 2.0 ($18.95) with buttered lobster, thinly sliced radishes, Mari’s Gardens microgreens and tarragon aioli on bacon-fat toast.


SEE ALSO: First Look: Fish Hook Café


Then there are those restaurants that have been around awhile but maybe you’ve never tried. Chubbies Burgers, a food truck parked outside the old Sports Authority on Ward Avenue—I know you’ve seen it—is featuring its ’50s Burger ($8) with grass-fed Makaweli Ranch beef, Mari’s Gardens Mānoa lettuce and locally grown tomatoes.


Steamed local eggplant from Budnamujip Korean Restaurant and Hawaiian moonfish tacos from M.A.C. 24/7 both support the Localicious campaign.
Photos: Courtesy of Budnamujip Korean Restaurant, M.A.C. 24/7


Budnamujip Korean Restaurant on Kapi‘olani Boulevard has a steamed local eggplant dish ($13.95 at lunch, $16.95 at dinner) and M.A.C. 24/7 in Waikīkī is serving Hawaiian moonfish tacos ($18) with pineapple slaw and lomi tomatoes.


3. It’s an excuse to indulge

The ginger-crusted onaga is on the Localicious prix fixe menu at Alan Wong’s Honolulu.
Photo: Courtesy of Alan Wong’s Honolulu


It’s March—and we think it’s fine to blow whatever healthy new year’s resolution you made back in January. (Plus, this is for a good cause. Keep telling yourself that.) Alan Wong’s Honolulu has an entire prix fixe menu supporting Localicious ($89 per person, $134 with wine pairings), with Keāhole lobster and shrimp lasagna, ginger-crusted onaga with Nozawa Farms corn and Waialua “Crunch Bars” using locally grown chocolate.


This burger from Burgers and Things features Ni‘ihau lamb.
Photo: Courtesy of Burgers and Things


Go big with the Lamb Bam Thank Ewe Ma’am burger ($14) from Burgers and Things in Pauoa; it features Niʻihau lamb with honey and mint topped with bacon, apple, maple jam and is served with local greens and tomatoes. And nothing says, “Screw the diet!” quite like a big plate of spaghetti alla carbonara from all three Arancino locations ($25 at Arancino Di Mare and Arancino at Beach Walk, $27 at Arancino at The Kāhala) with OK Farms eggs.


4. Desserts can be locally sourced, too

The bananas Foster pie is one of two Localicious specials this month at the Hawaiian Pie Co.
Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Pie Co.


This year’s lineup includes a number of desserts. All month, Hawaiian Pie Co. is serving two pies—bananas Foster and banana-caramel crumble ($24 for the 9-inch pie, $6 for the mini version)—featuring local apple bananas. Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery in Kaimukī has a liliko‘i cookie cup ($2.65) with local liliko‘i curd and macadamia nuts. The slushy flavor this month at Piggy Smalls will be Pineapple Dream ($4.50 small, $8 large) using Hawaiian Crown pineapple. Big City Diner and Hy’s Steak House are both featuring desserts: The former has a Kamiya papaya filled with Bubbies sorbet ($4.99), the latter is serving kūlolo cheesecake with Hawaiian Crown apple banana brûlée ($10).


Photo: Courtesy of Big Island Candies


Something a little different, Big Island Candies has a toffee featuring Hawaiʻi-grown chili peppers ($11.75).


5. Just to see what 7-Eleven is serving


A post shared by 7-Eleven Hawai'i (@7elevenhi) on


New to Localicious, 7-Eleven Hawai‘i’s 54 Oʻahu locations are serving a chicken-cilantro sandwich with Mānoa lettuce from Kunia Country Farms on sprouted grain bread from La Tour Bake Shop. Eating local can’t get any easier!


March 1–31 at participating restaurants, localicioushawaii.com


Brunch like you mean it at HONOLULU Magazine’s BrunchFest presented by American Savings Bank on Sunday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Salt at Our Kaka‘ako. Embrace the relaxed Sunday Funday vibe with seven local chefs, live entertainment, lawn games and a photo booth during this unique dining experience. Tickets on sale now. Click here.