Sunday, May 12, 2002

Longhi’s to
launch on Oahu

Famed Maui restaurateur and raconteur Bob Longhi is coming to Ala Moana Center, to the space right above Morton's of Chicago steak house.

"It'll be a 250-seat restaurant," Longhi said, in about 8,000 square feet of space and a possible opening in December or January.

The new location will be Longhi's third eatery -- the original in Lahaina is 26 years old; the second, at the Shops at Wailea, is 2 years old.

The new Longhi's is to look and feel like its predecessors, Longhi said. Charles Masseth of Kahala Architectural Group is already working on fitting the design into the space. The business relationship goes back to the first Longhi's and to Longhi's Maui home.

"We try not to have 90-degree angles," Longhi said. "We try to create a negative ion generator, because it creates happiness."

And better appetites? "Yes, and better appetites," he said.

The new restaurant will have panoramic views on three sides, familiar black and white checkered flooring and will be entirely open, with rounded archways and an open ceiling.

"It's the kind of thing where you push a button and the ceiling opens, Longhi said, like that which Masseth designed for his bedroom.

"Technically it's a retractable roof," Masseth said. "But the Italians called it an oculus," citing for example a Roman vaulted dome with a hole in the center which was open to the sky.

Longhi figures he'll have to get an apartment in Honolulu in the next three months in order to be here during the build-out.

"I'm extremely sanguine about it," he said. "I'm almost 70 years old but I like the spot so much ... I'll probably put a lot of energy into it for awhile."

At some point he may enlist family members, active in the Maui restaurants, to help run the Honolulu location.

As for the food, he plans the same quality and flavor as diners' Maui memories recall. We're going to keep it classic and regional, he said. "We're not the kind of restaurant that changes its menu every week."

New Breeze tomorrow

The new on-air lineup for 99.5 KHUI-FM "The Breeze" starts tomorrow. The New Wave Broadcasting LP station has been running jockless since its format and call letter change (from KORL) last month.

Former KCCN-AM/FM personality Ola Souza returns to the morning-drive reins. Kimo Villarimo will do middays on KHUI as well as afternoon-drive on sister-station 93.1 KQMQ-FM and Program Director Mahlon Moore will host afternoons.

Jacqueline "Skylark" Rossetti will be the voice of the station while entertainer Audy Kimura is doing other imaging work.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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