After delays, Farrell’s Hawaii is set to open Sept. 1 at mall
The chain of ice cream parlors left the islands after the 1980s
Farrell's Hawaii, whose opening was pushed back due to construction delays, will debut for lunch and dinner in Windward Mall on Sept. 1. It is taking party reservations for dates beginning Sept. 16.
Diners in the old-fashioned ice cream parlor and restaurant are served by employees dressed in red-and-white striped vests, bow ties and fake cane hats -- a millinery style often seen on politicians in movies.
The restaurant had been scheduled to open earlier, but delays in arrivals of back-ordered fixtures and other materials held up the opening, said Josh Gaines, director of operations. He is also the husband of Maki Kuroda, president of E Noa Corp., the Hawaii-based transportation company that is the local franchisee.
Delays in restaurant openings are so commonplace as to be normal.
"It's been delayed, but they're undergoing training right now and everyone is excited," said Jonathan Kim, general manager of Windward Mall.
Its presence at the mall will "be huge," Kim said.
"We've been getting calls ever since it was announced," he added.
Some callers have been disappointed to learn of the delays because the eatery, known for zany fun and raucous presentations of big desserts, would not be open in time for their grandchild's birthday or other special event.
Nevertheless, anticipation is running high.
"It's funny. They mentioned the young employees don't know what Farrell's is, but their parents remember," Kim said.
Farrell's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour had several locations in Hawaii through the 1970s and into the 1980s until several corporate ownership changes and resulting restaurant changes led to the closure of nearly all the restaurants by 1990.
It was hugely popular with families for birthday parties or casual dining. It was also a favorite of teenagers, some of whom claimed it was their birthday upon each visit, to get a free dessert. The company now offers birthday registrations online to curb such inventory losses.
The "Belly Busters" on the menu will bring smiles and brain-freeze memories to many fond former customers. They include the "Honolulu Zoo Sundae," the "Mauna Kea Hot Fudge Volcano" and "The Pig Trough."
Gaines remembers Farrell's from his youth.
"I loved it back then ... and my wife and I wanted to bring it back to Hawaii," he said.
At a dinner break during orientation for potential employees Thursday night, Gaines, in uniform, walked through the mall and was approached by five or six sets of shoppers excitedly asking if Farrell's had opened.
"I said, 'Not yet, next month, pretty soon.' I almost felt like a celebrity," Gaines chuckled.
About 100 candidates are being screened for as many as 60 positions the company will fill.
Assistant Sarah Opple, who is taking party reservations at 792-4455, said the company is planning a grand-opening gala some time after the soft opening.
Party packages for a minimum of eight people start at $8.99 per person.
Farrell's Windward Mall space is more than 4,000 square feet and will seat 128 diners in the old McDonald's location. It is across from Baskin-Robbins' take-out counter and the Tilt video game arcade.
Farrell's Hawaii has a commitment for two stores and is exploring a second location at Pearlridge Center, Gaines said. He said eventually they may open additional stores in the state.