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Wee-hour onos for okonomiyaki


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POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

Cutbacks are common for business survival in tough times, but what if expanding service also worked?

Okonomiyaki Chibo restaurant at Royal Hawaiian Center has stretched its hours a couple nights a week, latching on to the center's free validated parking for four hours — which itself has been extended to June 30.

So far, “;business has been pretty good,”; said David Hanus, restaurant manager.

Nightclubbers are accustomed to going to LEVEL4 Nightclub & Ultra Lounge or Senor Frog's or perhaps P.F. Chang's and Doraku Sushi for night-caps and noshing. Okonomiyaki Chibo has joined them in staying open late Friday and Saturday nights, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Party promoter Justin Yoshino will stage events and the restaurant has created a late-night happy hour menu of food and drink specials.

Depending on a tummy's needs, a guest can feast or nibble on rib-eye steak, okonomiyaki, garlic shrimp, sashimi, poke, yakisoba or salads, though some requests from the regular menu may be accommodated, Hanus said.

Okonomiyaki, often described as a savory pancake or as Japanese pizza, is both and it is neither. It is made with batter studded with vegetables, cooked on a griddle and topped with meats or vegetables before it is slathered with sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and garnishes.

The most popular dish at lunch, however, is hamburger steak at $9.75, Hanus said.

It is served with rice, salad, miso soup and tsukemono, but “;no mac salad ... it's Japanese-style.”;

At lunch the customer mix is about 60/40 local and Japanese visitor. That changes to about 85 percent Japanese, 15 percent local at dinner, but late-night denizens are primarily local, Hanus said.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).