February 2023: Our Top 3 Most-Viewed Posts About O‘ahu’s Food Scene

A restaurant closure has a silver lining, revelation in a bowl of saimin, and Off the Strip eats go viral.


No. 3: Foodflash: Piggy Smalls Is Closing Permanently After Feb. 12

Piggy Smalls Soup Lineup Pc Lianne Rozzelle

Photo: Lianne Rozzelle

Published Feb. 7, 2023

Shock waves reverberate through the food scene with the closure of every popular restaurant. It seemed a little different with Piggy Smalls. Opened six years ago by The Pig & the Lady, Smalls survived the pandemic and seemed to be beating the odds, a busy destination eatery known beyond Hawai‘i. In the end, it was a reminder that restaurants still struggle in a pandemic-scarred world of rising costs and decimated staffs. The owners sent word via a text at lunchtime on a Tuesday. Katrina Valcourt of Frolic’s sister publication HONOLULU Magazine penned a requiem to the eatery she turned to for every emotional occasion, and that afternoon we published it on our website and social media, becoming the first Hawai‘i media to run a story subsequently carried by Hawai‘i News Now, KITV, KHON, Pacific Business News and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. There is an upside: Unlike most family-owned businesses, Piggy Smalls has the luxury of consolidating its staff with that of Chinatown’s Pig & the Lady. And as our follow-up reveals, several Smalls best-sellers will survive and a new brunch is in the works by Le and Smalls’ head chef, Kristene Moon.

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No. 2: The Bowl that Converted Me: Saimin at Jane’s Fountain

Janes Fountain Saimin

Photo: Mari Taketa

Published Feb. 21, 2023

“Aloha @thomasohhh!” the email began. “I was reaching out to express my appreciation for your articles. … I’m in the midst of writing my first ever piece on saimin (had a Ratatouille moment last week at Jane’s Fountain) that inspired me to consider blogging and writing.” That was our introduction to Robin Bae, whose first published piece would appear on Frolic 13 days later. Bae, who’s from Southern California, nearly majored in film at UCLA but chose healthcare instead. Now he’s nurturing his creative side, lucky for us, because after joining our weekly lunch meeting Tuesday, he’s now working on three more pieces, all from the perspective of a Mainlander trying to become local while missing the foods of home.

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No. 1: My 12 Favorite Restaurants Off the Strip in Las Vegas

Vegas Al Posto Solito Credit Thomas Obungen

Photo: Thomas Obungen

Feb. 22, 2023

We knew Hawai‘i people love Las Vegas, so it should have been no surprise that Thomas Obungen’s roundup of favorite Off the Strip spots would go viral. In a matter of days this drool-worthy collection became our most-viewed post since our first look at the new Nijiya Market at Ala Moana Center in December, also by Thomas.

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