What’s Popping: Sooper Secret Izakaya Has Tuesday Lunch Specials at ‘Ili‘ili

A James Beard Award nominee is popping up with Mexican-flavored Sloppy Papis and Chicken Tsukune Katsu sandwiches Tuesday in Mō‘ili‘ili.


Sooper Secret Tsukune Katsu Sandwich Thomas Obungen

Photo: Thomas Obungen


To fans who mourned the closure of Sooper Secret Izakaya in August, and those who never got the chance to go: The James Beard Award nominee has resurfaced with weekly lunch pop-ups out of ‘Ili‘ili Cash & Carry in Mō‘ili‘ili. After selling out of his cheese-stuffed chicken tsukune katsu sandwiches in his first outing last week, Ricky Goings has decided to resurface every Tuesday with one or two lunch specials.


We got in our order and were treated to a thick, juicy, deep-fried chicken patty nestled in La Tour Bakehouse potato buns with sliced cabbage, katsu sauce and roasted garlic mayo. When you bit into the center you got gooey pulls of provolone. Thin, house-fried chips came on the side in a $15 set.


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Tsukune Katsu sandwich. Courtesy of Sooper Secret Izakaya


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On offer next Tuesday, Sept. 27 will be this same chicken tsukune katsu sandwich, and a new one: the Sloppy Papi, a sloppy joe-style sandwich of minced Pono Pork seasoned with Mexican spices and topped with shredded lettuce, olives and sour cream, also for about $15. An accompaniment of fried tortilla chips will give the option of eating it nachos-style, Goings says.


Sooper Secret Peruvian Char Siu Sandwich Thomas Obungen

This past Tuesday’s Peruvian char siu sandwich. Photo: Thomas Obungen


This one is from this past Tuesday: a potato bun sandwich stuffed with Peruvian-style char siu, red onions, cilantro and aji amarillo sauce; it came with a side of potato-mac salad. Coming up, Goings says he’ll likely deviate from sandwiches with dishes like donburi rice bowls. That’s good news, because his cooking resume includes a good stint at the now-closed izakaya Aki no No (Goings has also cooked at He‘eia Kea Pier General Store & Deli with Mark Noguchi, Prima Kailua, Sushi Ii, Pai Honolulu and Butcher & Bird).


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Eventually, Goings says, he wants to launch occasional upscale dinner pop-ups at a communal table set up inside ‘Ili‘ili. Watch Sooper Secret Izakaya’s Instagram for updates on this and each week’s pop-up lunch specials. Some sandwiches will be available for walk-in customers, but it’s safer to pre-order online at ‘Ili‘ili’s order page starting each Saturday for pickup the following Tuesday.


‘Ili’ili Cash & Carry x Sooper Secret Izakaya Tuesday pop-ups, 2065 S. Beretania St., @soopersecretizakaya