This L&L isn’t about chicken katsu
Arizona-based Hawaii restaurateur Randy Schoch is "On the Menu" in the current Nation's Restaurant News magazine.
"On the Menu" is a regular feature of the magazine and in Schoch's case, profiles him, Desert Island Restaurants LLC
and its most recent restaurant concept, Ling & Louie's Asian Bar and Grill.
Primarily known in Hawaii for more upscale dining venues, such as his five Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurants and Black Orchid back in the day, Ling & Louie's is intended to be more casual than the Romano's Macaroni Grill he opened at Ala Moana Center in 2005.
"Our tagline is, 'Not for boring people,' " he told NRN.
The Asian fusion menu features cheeky twists on the same ol' same ol' -- such as cocktails named "Mai Thai" and "Wong Island Iced Tea," and a dish named after the TV character who was the cook on "Bonanza," Hop Sing's meatloaf.
Yes, meatloaf. However, unlike the stuff your mom made with Lipton Onion Soup Mix or Campbell's condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup -- Hop Sing's comes with wasabi mashed potatoes and Szechuan-style green beans.
A Ruth's Chris or Romano's needs big square footage, but Ling & Louie's is designed to fit in smaller spaces and seat about 120 diners. Drinkers, too, because it is a cross between an Asian restaurant and an American tavern.
The more casual dining concept with a smaller footprint means a smaller average check per person of $16.50.
It also lends itself to franchising.
"We have our own Ling & Louie's in Scottsdale (Ariz.) ... and we're going to build a few more corporate stores," but the growth of Ling & Louie's will primarily be through franchising, he told TheBuzz.
The franchisee in Denver will be opening a second location. Another franchise is set for the Wild Horse Pass casino in Arizona and there are letters of intent out for two more locations in Arizona and Utah.
Schoch established his first Asian concept, Thaifoon -- Taste of Asia in 2001 and had no plans to bring Asian food to Hawaii since there's so much good Asian food available here already.
As to whether Ling & Louie's would fly here, he said, "never say never ... if the right opportunity presented itself, we'd certainly look at that."
At the moment however, he is focused on expansion of Romano's Macaroni Grill to Queen's MarketPlace in Waikoloa, slated to open in November.
"We'll start construction in a few weeks," he said. Schoch was preparing for a flight to Hawaii today and will spend about a month and a half here tending to business and likely enjoying actual moisture in the air.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org