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By Bob Sigall, Special to the Star-Advertiser Fashion designer Nake‘u Awai asked me about Christian’s Hut, a restaurant/­lounge at Ward Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard, where Ward Warehouse later was located. He worked there briefly in the 1950s before going to the University of Washington. His first day at work, someone called him while he was carrying a big tray of glasses. Awai turned, and they fell and crashed all over the floor. “I thought I’d be fired, but they just told me to clean it up. I became their most popular lunch waiter,” the Kamehameha Schools grad told me. For more information check out the Star-Advertiser  ...

Story By: Nicole Monton | Photos by: TONY GRILLO Chef Chai at Pacifica is celebrating its seventh anniversary in the tastiest way possible, with a seven-course meal featuring dishes from chef Chai Chaowasaree’s childhood growing up in Bangkok. Available July 17-24, the extravagant feast is the perfect family-style feast whether dining in ($70 per person) or ordering takeout (20 percent discount). “These seven dishes are the most popular dishes in Thai cuisine,” Chaowasaree explains. “The food we serve at Chef Chai is not Thai; it’s more fusion. But what we are doing now is bringing you back for one week to the food that I grew up with.” For more information check out our  Dining In feature...

Story By: Nicole Monton | No one does plate lunches like Kau Kau Grill, which is quite the hidden gem in Mapunapuna. From its humble food truck beginnings in 2013, the eatery has grown its fan-base, prompting a move to its brick-and-mortar location two years later. “I’d just like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years,” says co-owner Ty Takishita. “We’ve been trying to make everyone happy, trying to help everyone with discounts and specials.” For more information check out our  Dining In feature...

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: MARK GALACGAC   ANNE LEE speaks with Lanakila Pacific marketing and communications manager LAURIE HARA and The Good Table co-chair CHEF ALAN WONG I had the chance to talk with Laurie Hara, marketing and communications manager of Lanakila Pacific, and world-renowned chef Alan Wong. We sat down at his flagship restaurant that is celebrating 25 years to talk story and learn about The Good Table. AL: Can you please tell me more about The Good Table and how it started? LH: The Good Table originated 12 years ago as a way of raising funding for Lanakila Meals on Wheels, and it has grown over the years. We were inspired by a similar concept that a nonprofit in...

By Allison Schaefers   It seems like it could go from bad to worse for Hawaii hotels. Occupancy at isle hotels about doubled in June to 15.7% from a coronavirus-related low of 8.4% in April. However, the state still lags major U.S. hotel markets. June’s statewide occupancy fell 68.2 percentage points from June 2019 when occupancy was 83.9%, according to data obtained Tuesday from Tennessee-based STR, a leader in global hospitality tracking. For more information check out the Star-Advertiser...

By Betty Shimabukuro Chuck Furuya is no longer working the floor in a restaurant dining room, but he’s still talking wine. After nearly 20 years as a partner in the DK Restaurant Group — most visibly pouring wine at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar — Furuya has transitioned from daily operations to more of a consulting role. Given the ongoing havoc in the restaurant industry, he said, stepping away from nightly service will allow him to explore new projects as the situtation changes, and to spend more time with his family. To both those ends, he is partnering with his son, Kale, on a video podcast, “Chuck Furuya Uncorked,” featuring father, son and guests tasting, talking and teaching about wine. The podcast debuted...

By Betty Shimabukuro   BETTY SHIMABUKURO / BETTY@STARADVERTISER.COMo Braised short ribs at the Mahi’ai Market at Kapolei Foodland Farms. Used to be, a long line outside a brand-new store was a sign of success. These days it’s cause for alarm. So the newest Foodland Farms opens in Kapolei today with a unique entry system in place — online reservations to get into a grocery store As of Tuesday, nearly 700 reservations had been made for opening day, filling all the available slots, Foodland spokeswoman Sheryl Toda said. Reservations for the days to follow are quickly filling as well, she said. Coronavirus precautions mean the number of shoppers at any one time is limited to 75, with masks required and temperature checks at the door. Some walk-ins will...

By Nicole Monton Appetites around the state are ramping up with the latest talk of the town: Restaurants can reopen for dine-in services starting Friday, June 5 — with adjustments, of course. Leading the effort to help eateries reopen and adhere to federal, national and local safety guidelines is Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, a unifying force for the state’s food service industry. “It’s a very difficult task,” says HRA chairman Tom Jones, who also is president and co-owner of REI Food Service LLC. “But if the governor and his administration can come up with a tiered process to prescreen tourists and keep Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 infection rate at or near zero, the state would be one of the most sought-after vacation destinations and worth the...

By Star-Advertiser Staff   April 22, 2020 A pilot restaurant delivery program launches today, featuring a flat $10 charge to customers and no fees to restaurants. The Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation and Elite Parking are partnering in the project to aid restaurants who find it difficult to pay the service fees charged by some delivery services. Elite Delivery is starting with 12 restaurants in Hawaii Kai and Kaimuki, delivering to homes in the ZIP codes 96816, 96821 and 96825, from 5 to 9 p.m. The organizers hope to expand after a trial period. The service requires two transactions: Customers first order directly from the restaurant, then book delivery through Elite. The parking service will donate $1 of each delivery fee to the agricultural foundation. The...

ANNE LEE speaks with founder CHEF CHAI CHAOWASAREE I recently got to chat with local culinary expert chef Chai Chaowasaree. Despite closing his restaurant — which is aptly named Chef Chai, too — for at least another month, he won’t be leaving his patrons missing his delicious Thai dishes for too long. This time, though, they’ll be the one’s cooking in the kitchen — learn more online at facebook.com/chefchai. Today, he shares a recipe for easy-to-make Thai Red Chicken Curry. For more information check out our  Dining In feature  ...