Hale ‘Aina Happenings: What’s New with Hawai‘i’s Restaurants in February & March

Raise money for student ag programs, local James Beard nominees, special pancakes and a new menu at some of our Hale ‘Aina Award-winning restaurants.

Localicious Hawai‘i Raises Money for Ag Education

12th Ave Grill Alan Wong's The Pig & The Lady
Some of the dishes you can order March 1–31, from left: Waialua root-beer-braised Maui Cattle Co. beef cheeks from 12th Ave Grill; tomato, beet and avocado salad from Alan Wong’s; farmer’s haku lei salad from The Pig & The Lady.
Photos: Courtesy of Localicious Hawai‘i

For the fourth year, Localicious Hawai‘i is working with restaurants across the state to raise money for agricultural education programs. Here’s how it works: Visit any of the more than 170 participating restaurants March 1–31 and order any dish marked with a Localicious logo. $1 from each dish will go to the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation’s Veggie U program, which aims to get fourth-graders more engaged in ag and science. Last year, the monthlong event raised more than $45,000. Some of the Hale ‘Aina winners participating are 12th Ave Grill, 53 By The Sea, The Pig & The Lady, Alan Wong’s, Arancino, Brew’d, Roy’s, Sansei, Moon and Turtle, Koko Head Café and Mariposa.

March 1–31 at participating restaurants, localicioushawaii.com


New at Chef Mavro

After Jonathan Mizukami left Chef Mavro last fall to focus on his own new ventures, the restaurant’s former chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane, who had been the executive sous chef at The Royal Hawaiian since 2015, returned as executive chef. Good timing, as Chef Mavro just received the American Automobile Association 2017 Five Diamond Award, along with La Mer at the Halekūlani. They are the only two restaurants in the state to win the honor this year.

Chef Mavro, 1969 S. King St., chefmavro.com, 944-4714


SEE ALSO: This Rare Périgord Truffle Chicken is Only Available at Chef Mavro Until March


Celebrate National Pancake Day

If there was ever a reason to stuff your face with M.A.C. 24/7’s famous pancakes, it’s National Pancake Day. Tomorrow (Feb. 28), a portion of all pancake sales will go toward HUGS, a local nonprofit that helps seriously ill children and their families. Since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, take a bite of the new seasonal short stack: Menehune Mint, which comes with a green chocolate mousse topping and mint chocolate chunks. You can order the Menehune Mint pancakes through the end of March.

M.A.C. 24/7, at the Hilton Waikīkī Beach, 2500 Kūhiō Ave., mac247waikiki.com, 921-5564


This Year’s James Beard Semifinalists

Hawai‘i scored just two semifinalists for the annual James Beard Awards this year, which take place May 1 (finalists will be announced March 15). Senia is up for Best New Restaurant, while longtime favorite and Hale ‘Aina winner Vino is in the running for Outstanding Wine Program. No surprise, considering Vino’s wine program was designed by the state’s first master sommelier, Chuck Furuya. The criteria for the category is “a restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff and efforts to educate customers about wine.”

Vino, Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., vinohawaii.com, 524-8466


SEE ALSO: Learn Everything You Need to Know About Wine From Vino’s Master Sommelier


Taking the Stage

Speaking of James Beard, a team of chefs from Stage Restaurant will host an event called Food Meets Fashion at The James Beard House in New York City on March 25. Stage executive chef Ron de Guzman, pastry chef Cainan Sabey and sous chef Joy Yamane will prepare a meal featuring Hawaiian and Asian flavors in dishes that include kiawe-smoked Jidori chicken liver foie gras, Kona lobster, pork belly adobo and a trio of desserts. Get tickets, $175, here or by calling (212) 627-2308.


Stage also has a new tapas menu, available Tuesday through Saturday at the restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center from 4:30 p.m. until closing. Everything is $15 or less, except for the grilled short rib ($20) and hamachi sashimi ($17). There’s a wide range of dishes from the earth (patatas bravas, roasted cauliflower, eggplant “torta”), the sea (oyster shooters, diver scallop sashimi, garlic Kaua‘i shrimp toast) and the land (sliders, baked brie, bacon and egg with polenta and arugula).

Stage Restaurant, 1250 Kapi‘olani Blvd., stagerestauranthawaii.com, 237-5429


For a complete list of our 2017 Hale ‘Aina winners, click here.