Build your base

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By Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies, Special to the Star-Advertiser With transpacific travel set to re-open next week, Hawaii Tourism Authority’s newly named President and CEO John De Fries said he estimates that between now and the end of the year, visitor arrivals will be a fraction of what they once were. “My estimate is we’re gonna have a daily average of about 5,000. Which is roughly 17% of what that daily average was a year ago. And I feel like it’s a small enough place to start so that we can perfect the systems that will protect the health and well-being of the workers and the work environment and the host environment that will host the guests,” he...

STORY BY: ANNE LEE | PHOTOS BY: REID SHIMABUKURO Genki Sushi has been in Hawaii for over 27 years and has been a popular restaurant loved by locals and tourists alike. The restaurant now boasts more than 360 restaurants around the world, even one in Kuwait! I was able to dine with their executive team that takes the lead on the menu at their Kapahulu location, which was the first one built outside of Japan. Before each season starts, they start talking about the menu and think up different ideas to bring forth a blend of Japanese and local flavors. They take a consensus from each Genki Sushi location, and ask their staffs what would be good to add to the menu. The goal is...

STORY BY: NICOLE MONTON Murphy’s Bar & Grill recently revealed its trifecta of options to hungry diners in celebration of the resumption of dine-in service. Now, fans of the joint can look forward to dine-in, dine-out or takeout. Of course, the dine-in and takeout parts make sense, but what exactly is dine-out? “We cut a hole,” owner Don Murphy starts with a laugh. “When we started doing takeout, people would come to the bar to pick up their food, but they didn’t feel comfortable coming into a crowded space. “So, I leased the space next to us, and cut a hole through the wall for food to pass through. That became our takeout place.” For more information check out our  Dining In feature in...

By Review by Nadine Kam, Special to the Star-Advertiser For some, living under pandemic conditions has felt like time wasted in limbo. For others it’s been a time of reflection and redirection, a catalyst for change that may have taken longer to realize in less volatile times. As the new owner of Zia’s Caffe in Kaneohe, Micah Suderman knows the nearly 20-year-old institution has to evolve if it is to survive the next 20 years. Suderman, a certified sommelier and the director of restaurants and bars at the Royal Hawaiian resort, completed the restaurant purchase on Jan. 1, and had intended to keep working at the hotel while his wife, Sophany, managed Zia’s. For more information check out Crave in the Star-Advertiser...

By Review by Nadine Kam, Special to the Star-Advertiser The idea of resilience is abstract, easy to talk about, but most of us are accustomed to going about our daily business without facing obstacles that test our resolve. … Until now. Many are having to find new paths to make it through the pandemic, facing the resilience test and trusting that even as some doors close, others will open. Lance Kosaka was shocked and saddened when he learned in May that Top of Waikiki, where he was executive chef, would close rather than try to ride out a pandemic with no foreseeable end date. By then it was already clear that control of the disease would not come in months, but possibly years. For...

By Allison Schaefers The Hawaii Tourism Authority has hired its first Native Hawaiian president and CEO. Tourism industry veteran John De Fries is slated to start Wednesday. According to the terms of his contract, he’ll be compensated at almost the same rate as his predecessor, Chris Tatum, who left the agency Aug. 31 to “spend more time with family.” De Fries’ three-year contract, which ends Sept. 15, 2023, matches Tatum’s base annual salary of $270,000 in the first year, with an automatic 5% increase for each succeeding year of the contract. Like Tatum, De Fries won’t be entitled to join the state’s pension and retirement systems. However, he’ll get the same vacation, holiday and leave benefits as other state employees who are classified...

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM It’s easy to serve gourmet food when you add expensive ingredients to a dish, such as black truffles or caviar. The real challenge is to serve great food that people can afford to eat every day. Chef Martin Wyss, who owned the legendary Swiss Inn in Niu Valley, was known for cooking elegant comfort foods that were affordable. From 1982 to 2000, he and his wife, Jeanie, served basically the same menu from the day they opened. It included European specialties such as Trout Caprice, Croute Emmental, wiener schnitzel and cheese fondue — not usual Hawaii fare. One of the most popular dishes at the Inn was Emince de Veau, Zurich-style strips of tender veal with mushrooms in a...

By Allison Schaefers There are just 18 days to go before the Oct. 15 start of the state’s pre-arrival testing program. Yet officials are still working out the kinks of Safe Travels, travel.hawaii.gov, the online application that collects traveler information needed to enforce public safety measures related to the coronavirus. Travelers are supposed to complete an online application and receive a QR code, which resembles a square bar code. The screener at the airport uses an iPad to read the QR code and is able to quickly review passenger information for clearance or secondary screening. Read the rest of this story on the Star-Advertiser...

By Allison Schaefers Springboard Hospitality, a locally owned hotel management company, is growing its portfolio, rebranding, and investing in new technology even in the midst of the global pandemic. Over the past six months, Springboard has added three new hotel properties,including Ohia Studio Suites in Waikiki, with several more additions underway. Other recent additions have been in Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., and leisure destinations like Sedona, Ariz.; Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.; and Jackson, Wyo. The company is now operating in 10 states and has 35 properties, seven of them in Hawaii. Read the rest of this story on the Star-Advertiser...

By CHELSEA JENSEN West Hawaii Today   Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to sell Kona Brewing Co.’s Hawaii operations in order to pave the way for the purchase of the alliance by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division approved on Friday the acquisition of Kona Brewing Co. operations in the Aloha State by PV Brewing Partners, a Delaware limited liability company with headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.   For more information check out West Hawaii Today...