New owner taking over Phillip Paolo’s eatery at Restaurant Row
After a three-year run, Phillip Paolo's Italian Restaurant at Restaurant Row has changed hands -- sort of. Chef Phillip Sarubbi is now whipping up dishes and catering orders in Moanalua for the 250-seat Sam Snead's Tavern at the Navy-Marine Golf Course Clubhouse.
"We've had three years over here (on Restaurant Row)," said his wife, Connie Sarubbi. She also is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker.
As the Sarubbis' lease options came up and the pair considered whether to exercise them, John "Yanni" Trainedes appeared on the scene and took over the lease on Oct. 2. He will rename the restaurant Dolce Ristorante.
"Things happened sooner than I expected so the transition will take longer," Trainedes said in an e-mail.
"Connie will stay with us through December while we refit and redesign the menu."
The new chef-owner is a long-time restaurateur and impresario from Australia.
Ironically, the Australian has removed the "Outback" sign from Phillip Paolo's quick service take-out operation at the back of the restaurant.
Trainedes also has discontinued the daily buffet, which he realizes will be a disappointment to some customers.
"Unfortunately, if we continue to do the buffet we will go broke," he said. "Being a chef, it is very frustrating not being able to create, and doing buffet every day can lead to insanity!"
Other changes at the new Dolce Ristorante will come more slowly.
"There won't be any real changes (to the cuisine) until January, so I hope that no 'foodies' come in to write about Dolce, as they will still find us running with Phil's menu to help honor the existing bookings," Trainedes said.
Trainedes' Yanni's Greek Taverna in Cairns, Australia, won awards including Best Themed Restaurant in Australia in 2003 and 2004.
That "upset many restaurants in the big cities, as you could imagine," he said.
He has also operated Metbar, a food-serving nightclub, and the Cairns Comedy Store in Queensland, but no longer owns any businesses in Australia.
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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 at: firstname.lastname@example.org