Noted isle chef puts her bistro on block
The Hawaii Regional Cuisine co-founder is selling O's Bistro
Noted chef, restaurateur and Realtor Amy Ferguson has put her most recent culinary venture, O's Bistro in Kona, on the market.
Ferguson, a co-founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine in the 1990s, is not exactly changing careers, but says real estate will become "a much bigger aspect of my life." She got into it after 9/11, to diversify.
"One thing (author) Steven Covey said was, 'You must begin with the end in mind,'" which she didn't do when she opened her restaurant, then called Oodles of Noodles, in 1997.
"I think I can help restaurant buyers and sellers and that's the whole idea of starting my consulting business," which has yet to be named. "After 30 years in corporate life as well as being a business owner for the last 12, I have a pretty good clue, and I'd like to help."
The asking price for 1,668-square-foot eatery, with indoor and outdoor seating for up to 80 people, is $550,000. The popular and profitable restaurant's name, recipes and operational procedures can be purchased at additional cost.
O's Bistro is in the Crossroads Shopping Center, anchored by Safeway. It employs an average of 23 to 25 people.
The restaurant was changed to O's Bistro in 2004 as Ferguson made lifestyle and dietary changes in her life, focusing more on vegetarian and organic foods. She dropped Ota from her name the same year following a divorce, though she remains friends with ex-husband Frank Ota.
She calls O's dishes "healthful," as opposed to "healthy," or "health-food," because she doesn't want it equated with rabbit food.
Butter, cream and chocolate have a place in her kitchen, she said.
"There's no reason to put it in your mouth if it doesn't make your palate pop."
She knew at age 11 she wanted to be a chef.
She went to France at 17 to study at Le Cordon Bleu and by 21 was an executive chef. At the Hotel Hana Maui and the Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani, she became the first female executive chef for each property's corporate owner.
Ferguson appeared alongside an American culinary icon in "Julia Child -- Cooking with Master Chefs" that aired on PBS in 1993, after she and other Hawaii chefs founded the nonprofit Hawaii Regional Cuisine Inc. the year earlier.
These and her other culinary chops mean she is not getting out of the business of creating food that makes people happy. She continues to cater, through Cater Hawaii LLC.
She also plans to have a new, non-food product manufactured and is in the process of protecting it via trademarking or other channels.
"I'm not a one-track kind of gal," she said. "I think if you're a creative spirit you're going to find that the sky's the limit."