Sunday, July 14, 2002

‘Thaifoon Randy’
strikes again

Restaurateur and former Hawaii resident Randy Schoch has been busy establishing his latest restaurant concept on the mainland, called "Thaifoon."

It's sure to get more attention now. Industry magazine "Nation's Restaurant News" wrote about it in a July 1 article.

The story by Lori Doss is about the design of the eatery, not its food, which receives a passing mention as "American-style Thai cuisine."

Schoch, chief executive of Desert Island Restaurants Inc., told the Star-Bulletin last year that the idea was not to create the authentic Thai food dining experience that is widely available in Hawaii, but to adjust the menu for the mainland palate.

The first Thaifoon opened in Scottsdale Arizona in March of 2001; the second, in Irvine, Calif., this past spring.

Schoch plans to open others in Newport Beach, Calif., Salt Lake City and Nevada, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

The interior for the second location was designed by Los Angeles-based Design Development and forms the basis for the "identity" of the other restaurants, according to the article.

The focal point is a "40-foot water wall," which separates the dining area from the kitchen; another key element is a glass, two-story, refrigerated sake store room.

Desert Island Restaurants operates three Ruth's Chris Steak Houses in Hawaii and three Roy's Restaurants in Arizona and California, in addition to the two Thaifoon restaurants.

Mauna radio

Call letters for a radio station are often taken for granted and not given much thought by advertisers or listeners.

West of the Mississippi the first letter is always "K." The next three may "sound" like a word, be an acronym or be nothing at all.

The KKEA-AM call letters now used on 1420 AM have replaced KCCN, taken from the last names of the station's founders in 1966.

The station had heavily branded itself using the KCCN call letters, according to General Sales Manager Sheldon Nagata, but the new call letters were necessitated by the station's sale in April. Seller Cox Radio Inc. kept the KCCN brand for its FM station.

The transition led people to ask TheBuzz whether the "KEA" stood for something like "Kurisu Entertainment Associates" after owner Duane Kurisu (also a minority investor in the Star-Bulletin).

"The KEA is to reflect Mauna Kea, to give it a Hawaii tie" said Floyd Takeuchi, a principal of Kurisu's PacificBasin Communications LLC. It is a sister company of Blow Up LLC, which owns the sports- and talk-formatted station.

The call letter change was approved by the Federal Communications Commission June 30 and started on the air July 1, Takeuchi said.

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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