New eatery for downtown, L&L sells by the pound
The O Lounge will soon get a sister business -- a restaurant in Harbor Court.
Owner Elizabeth Watanabe has signed a lease for the former Bethel Street home of Cassis and Palomino Restaurant Rotisseria Bar.
She is whittling down name choices and has not set an opening date, but plans few interior changes. "The former tenant left it in impeccable shape," she said.
In closing Cassis in February, chef-restaurateur George Mavrothalassitis said the more than 13,000 square foot space turned out to be too big.
He opened it in April of 2007 after successfully operating his acclaimed, award-winning, now-decade-old Chef Mavro restaurant on King Street.
Cassis' higher prices were off-putting to many who had frequented its predecessor, Palomino, for 11 years.
Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited Inc. closed Palomino in February of 2007. It had been underperforming, and RUI declined a five-year lease renewal.
Guests at the new restaurant will get lunch for "under $20 in less than an hour," Watanabe said.
Executive Chef Thomas Corleon "was educated in France" and is of French and Vietnamese descent, but the menu will be "very eclectic."
Watanabe employs about 40 people at O Lounge, but will need significantly more for the restaurant, and is hiring.
Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and possibly later on Fridays. Dinner and late-night drinks will be served on Saturdays, but Sundays it will be closed.
Diners at L&L Drive-Inn may need roll-out service, after its rollout of three-pound plate lunches.
The "Matai" plate, which refers to a high chief, will be available for about a month as a nod to the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue that opened in American Samoa a week and a half ago.
The new outlet ran out of prepped food in six hours, said co-founder Eddie Flores Jr. As many as 1,000 residents had lined up outside the new eatery, which raked in about four times the average daily take of an L&L, he said.
The "Matai" plate debuted at the new location, which reopened the next day.
It has three scoops rice, two scoops mac salad and three portions of chicken katsu or Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken and three of barbecue beef. It costs from $10.95 to $12.75, depending on location.
The simply peckish can order a "Manini" plate, with one portion of rice and protein, for a location-dependent $1.95 to $2.75.
The heavyweight plate starred in an 11 a.m. eating contest at the Iwilei L&L yesterday in which 10 guys got 10 plates and 10 minutes. It took 15 minutes, but "two skinny guys like me," completed the task, Flores chuckled.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, 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: email@example.com