Hale ‘Aina Happenings: What’s New With Hawaiʻi Restaurants in June 2018

Read up on the latest news from some of our Hale ‘Aina Award-winning restaurants. Plus vote for your favorites in the 2019 Hale ʻAina Awards!

1. Girls’ Night Out at Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival

International Market Place
Photos: Courtesy of Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival/International Market Place


Kicking off International Market Place’s Mixology Month, Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival hosts Girls’ Night Out on June 28 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Get a little tipsy on this thirsty Thursday at IMP’s Grand Lānai with cocktails from Baku, Eating House 1849, Flour & Barley, Herringbone, StripSteak and Yauatcha.


“Girls’ Night Out is the perfect event to get a sneak peek of Mixology Month food and beverage pairings along with exclusive fashion brands available at the International Market Place,” says Breana Grosz, marketing director of IMP.


Trina Turk Tote Bag


The six restaurants will be pairing with retailers 3.1 Phillip Lim, INTERMIX, Surf Line Hawaiʻi, Trina Turk, Vilebrequin and Saks Fifth Avenue. Attendees will also receive special gift and promotional offers from each retailer, including canvas totes by Trina Turk. The evening ends at Saks Fifth Avenue, where guests will be offered touch-ups at beauty stations and facial certificates, as well as Tom Ford’s new fragrance with a cheesy name.


Tickets are $75 per person and include six tastings paired with cocktails plus chats led by mixologists, who will discuss their take on the food and cocktail combinations.


To purchase tickets, go here.


2. Agu Ramen Launches Happy Hour

The 2018 Hale ʻAina awardee for Best Japanese Noodles is bringing happy hour to all of its six locations on Oʻahu. Happy hours are Sunday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m., as well as late night, one hour before closing (Ward, Pearlridge, Ala Moana and Kapolei late night begins at 9 p.m., Isenberg location starts at 10 p.m. and Waikīkī at 10:30 p.m.).


Start pau hana with Agu’s happy hour menu: 50 percent off Asahi draft and cocktails, $5 wine by the glass, and half off selected appetizers (Agucini, gyoza, chicken karaage, fries, edamame and chicken kawa). Special happy hour appetizers also include the Agu taco ($2.75), made with fried gyoza skin, char siu, pico de gallo and yuzu aioli, and the happy hour tofu ($6.50).


Multiple locations, aguramen.com


3. Koko Head Café Chef Joins Hawaiian Airlines

Lee Anne Wong
Photos: Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines


Since June 1, Koko Head Café’s Lee Anne Wong has been overseeing Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight meal program as its newest executive chef. Gaining popularity as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, Wong is no stranger to food TV. She served as supervising culinary producer on Top Chef, starred in her own webisode series and worked on Warner Bro.’s No Reservations


“Here at Koko Head Café we pride ourselves on cooking local, seasonal and delicious food. Our flavors are bold and represent the melting pot of cultures that make up the Hawaiʻi food scene,” says Wong. “Anyone who eats here regularly will hopefully be able to recognize some of our signature styles and flavors while they are dining in-flight.”


Wong has been working with Hawaiian Airlines for the past three years. “Airline food presents an entire different set of challenges from running a restaurant, though the more I work with Hawaiian and their caterers, the easier it becomes to write recipes that streamline the process, from the in-flight catering kitchens to the plating and execution on board by the flight attendants.”


4. MW Restaurant Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

MW Restaurant
Photo: Courtesy of MW Restaurant


MW Restaurant invites you to its annual MW & Friends REUNITED on Sept. 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. An event benefiting the Hawaiʻi Culinary Education Foundation, guests can enjoy dishes and cocktails from culinary creators MW Chef Friends and Mixologist. VIP tickets ($295) include a Champagne and canape reception as well as a plated course dinner. General admission tickets are on sale now for $100.


To purchase VIP tickets, go here. To purchase general admission tickets, go here.


1538 Kapiʻolani Blvd., mwrestaurant.com


5. Food & Wine Workshop at Vino’s

Master sommelier Chuck Furuya will be expanding his ever more popular wine classes with this Food & Wine Workshop on Sunday, July 1. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste two trios of wine, exploring the differences between fruit driven, oak driven and earth/mineral driven, and all paired with a tapa. The workshop begins at 4:30 p.m. and is $25 per person.


The New Cuisine of Hawaiʻi author started offering a series of wine courses at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar with his Wine 101 class back in 2016. Due to popular demand, he’s added two more classes—Wine 201 and Wine 301.


Classes in the past have sold out quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot by calling (808) 524-8466 or emailing ataketa@dkrestaurants.com.



Be sure to cast your vote for your favorite restaurants in the 2019 Hale ʻAina Awards here. Voting ends June 30.