Restaurant Guide: Feed Your Needs
We all know restaurants do more than just feed you; they provide a way for you to connect with friends and family over a good meal. Whether you’re looking for a place to take Grandpa or a dining room that will let you bring Lassie, here are some restaurants that can satisfy your unique needs.
IF YOU NEED:
A place to throw a big, TV-based party.
Let’s say UH goes to the Sugar Bowl again—how will you fit all of your cousins’ cousins into your living room?
Before you start mixing three kinds of dips, you might want to consider taking your sports party to Ryan’s Grill at Ward Center. The lounge seats about 80, according to manager Gabrielle LeClair. There are three flat-screen televisions, plus one pull-down screen.
Ryan’s won a Hale Aina Award for Best Bar in 2007 and has an array of finger-licking pupu. Try the sweet potato fries with Bourbon-spiked barbecue sauce or the crab and artichoke dip, which is the most popular pūpū, says LeClair. “It’s served warm with our in-house [baked] focaccia bread.”
The lounge is first-come, first-serve, so make sure your party gets there early. Ryan’s also has happy hour seven days a week, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Restaurant hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday 10 a.m. to midnight; the bar is open until 2 a.m. nightly. 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. 591-9132. www.wardcenters.com.
IF YOU NEED:
A quiet, home-style restaurant where you can take your tutu.
Kenny’s Restaurant has a menu full of local comfort foods, is wheelchair accessible and has exceptionally long, early-bird dinner hours. The early-bird dinner hours are Monday through Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m., about three hours longer than other restaurants.
“When we started this about three years ago it was a way to fill the seats during our slower afternoon hours. It became such a hit that it stuck,” says Ron Kayano, the restaurant’s manager.
The specials during early-bird hours include three dollars off the ribeye steak, mahimahi filet, pork chop, and spaghetti with meatballs. Want to eat your comfort food at home? Takeout is available. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 6 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 1620 N. School St. (Kamehameha Shopping Center). 841-0931. www.kennysrestaurant.com.
IF YOU NEED:
Karma points served as a side dish.
The Lotus Café on the Big Island uses compostable containers, water-conserving appliances, a tankless water heating system and 450 solar panels that provide all the electricity.
Owners Howie and Ladda Simon apply their environmentally conscious philosophy to their Pan-Asian cuisine as well. “We make the menu based on what we can grow, and what we can grow we grow organically,” says Howie. The restaurant works with area farms, big and small, to provide locally grown produce whenever possible. “We don’t believe in canned or bottled sauces and spices. We make all of our sauces from scratch so we can guarantee what’s in them,” he says.
One of the most popular dishes is the Miang Kham, a spicy appetizer of ginger, coconut, peanuts and shrimp served on Thai betel leaves with a coconut and palm sugar dipping sauce. “We don’t keep our curry on the back burner all day; it is made fresh to order. Nothing is made in advance,” says Simon. For dessert, try the restaurant’s take on gelato, made with coconut milk and fresh fruit, and available in 10 flavors, such as ginger vanilla. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 73-5617 Maiau St., Kailua-Kona. (808)327-3270. www.thelotuscafe.com.
IF YOU NEED:
To make the most of your birthday dinner.
It only comes around once a year—the opportunity to score a free dinner! Todai is the place to go not only because of its massive, 160-foot-long seafood buffet but because you’ll get a free birthday meal if you show ID and bring three guests with you. Help yourself to 40 different types of sushi, 15 hot entrées, and a made-to-order counter featuring teppanyaki, Japanese noodles, handrolls and crepes. So throw on your most elastic pair of pants and give in to your gluttonous side. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday 5 to 9 p.m. 1910 Ala Moana Blvd. 947-1000. www.todaiwaikiki.com.
IF YOU NEED:
Quality time with your pooch.
Maybe it’s the fur, maybe it’s the barking, maybe it’s just the image of an unruly canine. Whatever the reason, it is almost impossible to find a classy, comfortable restaurant that allows you to dine with your dog in tow.
That’s why so many dog-owners flock to Town, a Hale Aina Award-winning restaurant that brings you your meal, and your pup a bowl of water. Chef/owner Ed Kenney was inspired by the dog-friendly eateries in Europe and parts of the Mainland. “At Town we have sought to reproduce this ‘café culture,’” he says. “The outdoor patio is dog-friendly, complete with clips anchored to the wall for leashes and water bowls.”
Town serves up burgers, pastas and salads made with local and organic ingredients. Try the signature lemonade, made with parsley juice and perfect for a hot, summer day. Need something for your dog’s palate? “We are going to be working on a dog biscuit recipe soon,” assures Kenney. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 3435 Waialae Ave. 735-5900. www.townkaimuki.com.
IF YOU NEED:
To bring the kids.
The Cool Cat Café knows that sometimes crayons and coloring books aren’t enough to keep children occupied.
That’s why they have a jukebox, hula hoops and an arcade with everything from pinball machines to Pac-Man. This popular burger joint is decked out in ’50s diner décor, complete with black-and-white tiled floors and booth seating. The menu has child-friendly classics such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and an array of sodas and milk shakes. All of the burgers are made with Angus beef and served on fresh buns baked every morning.
Kids and adults alike will be amused by the creative burger names such as: “The Sh-Boom Burger,” boasting chili and four kinds of cheese; “The Jailhouse Rock,” served with sautéed mushrooms and Thousand Island dressing; and the “Don Ho,” topped with pineapple.
Not in a burger mood? Try the ribeye steak or fresh, locally caught fish. Vegetable lovers can chow down on salads. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 658 Front St. Lahaina. (808) 667-0908. www.coolcatcafe.com.
More Special Requests
Looking for Gluten-Free menus?
6650 Kalanianaole Highway
TRY: The 13-ounce rib-eye steak with salad. All of the salad dressings are gluten-free except for the Mustard Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese.
4211 Waialae Ave.
TRY: The Grilled Baby Back Ribs with honey barbecue sauce.
1288 Ala Moana Blvd.
TRY: The Cantonese Shrimp or the Singapore Street Noodles.
These downtown restaurants offer great food and free Wi-Fi:
Soul de Cuba Café
1121 Bethel St.
TRY: The Pollo Soul de Cuba, its most popular entrée.
1088 Bishop St.
TRY: The Portobello “Katsu” Mushroom Sandwich with Brie Cheese.
Downtown @ the HiSAM
250 So. Hotel St.
TRY: The Lilikoi Crème-Fraiche Panna Cotta.
BYOB (psst …no corkage fee!)
1137 11th Ave.
Maile Chinese Restaurant
95-221 Kipapa Drive
CJ’s Deli and Diner
2580 Kekaa Drive, Suite 120,