Oxtail soup going, a mouse is coming
Big changes are coming to City Square on Dillingham Boulevard. Kapiolani Coffee Shop
is moving out and looking for a new spot; a new Vietnamese noodle house will move in -- and Chuck E. Cheese's
will be opening.
Kapiolani Coffee Shop moved into City Square a year ago when nearby Kam Bowl, where it was housed, had to close to make way for Walgreens.
The coffee shop famous for its oxtail soup moved in knowing it was too small, but still wanting to serve loyal clientele in the area.
"It was one-third the space," of the 2,000 square feet he had in the bowling alley, said owner Gary Mijo.
He had 10 to 15 tables in the bowling alley but only five in the City Square location that will serve its last customers today.
Kapiolani Coffee Shop in Waimalu and Mijo's other concept, Asahi Grill on Ward Ave., are up and running. Both serve the famous oxtail soup, though they are different types of restaurants.
Kapiolani Coffee Shop had been in business some 25 years when Mijo bought it in 1986. It was at Kapiolani Blvd. and Atkinson Drive then, and he has since expanded the business.
Its soon-to-be-former City Square location will work just fine for Janice Nguyen's first restaurant, Ha Long Noodle House.
Her family is in the restaurant business, but this is her first solo shot and her brother Paul will be general manager.
It will serve pho, which is not pronounced like the word faux, she said.
It is pronounced fa.
Nguyen suggested your columnist present it thusly: fa? so speakers' voices will go up at the end of the word as if asking a question.
"My tagline is, 'Be a health phonatic'" she said, playing on the word and its pronunciation.
"Our recipes are going to be health-conscious," she said.
She plans on buying the best-quality meats and cooking them for hours, "giving out all the fat before we serve it." Diners will have choices of toppings, vegetarian options, as well as salads and rice plates.
Her brother has restaurant industry experience while she brings a marketing and finance background. She hired a designer to create a contemporary atmosphere similar to a ramen bar that can seat about 24 diners.
Ha Long Noodle House is slated to open Sept. 15.
Chuck E. Cheese's will open late this year or early next year in the 12,000 square feet vacated by Grocery Outlet, according to Glenn Kaya, president of City Square owner RCK Inc. The pizza, video game and entertainment chain has other locations in Aina Haina and Waimalu, and in November announced plans to expand into Kapolei Town Square. The center is due to open next year. Hawaii franchisee Wayne Hayami was traveling and could not be reached.
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