Change is coming to town of Kailua


POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A barbecue-centric store and a family diner open their doors, while Blazin' Steaks moves

Kailua town is welcoming two new restaurant concepts, while another area eatery is moving to become more visible to prospective customers.

Kailua residents are known to be cautious about change, but new places to dine and shop are usually welcomed with open arms.

The Hibachi Store will be a one-stop shop for the barbecue-bound, whether their destination is the beach, ballpark or back yard.

Being built in the old Michael's Liquor store, it is a new retail concept by Carroll Ung, owner of the two (soon-to-be three) Fatboy's Drive-In plate-luncheries on Oahu. One is in Waipio, and one is in Kailua, “;like, 10 feet away”; from the soon-to-open Hibachi Store, he said.

“;Basically I'm trying to create a local market where I'm going to have a huge selection of beers, wines and spirits ... fresh poke and raw marinated meats.”;

Produce will come from Nalo Farms and “;great breads”; from established local bakeries, he said.

Customers will be able to buy marinated meats by the pound to cook at the beach or at home. One could cook the sold-by-the-pound poke, too, were one so inclined.

Flavor profiles of the marinated meats will include the “;de rigueur”; teriyaki beef, Korean kal-bi, pesto chicken breasts, marinated ahi steaks, opah steaks, “;probably seafood skewers — we're going to do a bunch of stuff.”;

Additionally, the store will prepare containers of such items as a crab and artichoke dip, or clambake-type ingredients. The idea is to pop off the top, “;pop it on the hibachi for 10 minutes”; and enjoy it with a French baguette or other fine bread.

“;We're trying to go a little more high end, a little different,”; Ung said.

Kailua's demographics are not lost on Ung. There are a lot of regular folks, but there is also “;a lot of wealth in Kailua.”;

Ung plans to offer 144 types of wine, 90 percent of which will be $20 or under, and “;all kinds of beer from all over the world, so a beer aficionado will find one he likes.”;

Ung hopes to open before Thanksgiving with help of two childhood friends, Mark Ushijima and Kennison Pang, who are his partners in the store.

Meanwhile, the newest Fatboy's will open within 60 days on the Diamond Head side of Keeaumoku Street facing McDonald's. He envisions as many as 10 Fatboy's on Oahu and perhaps more on the neighbor islands.



Closer to the entrance of Kailua town, Honuz has opened in the former Cisco's Cantina space after extensive renovation to make the new restaurant brighter.

Owned by Dee and Lou Pelekai, who also own Tiare's Sports Bar & Grill at Pali Lanes across the street, Honuz opened Aug. 13.

By day Lou Pelekai is a service manager at Mike McKenna's auto dealership, but by night he was a restaurant renovating laborer, alongside his wife and her brother.

The idea was to make it cozy and homey, as a turtle is in its shell. The slogan is “;Like a honu, home is within the shell,”; said Dee.

It is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, including Sunday buffets from 7 a.m. Its signature entree is prime rib, and a salad bar is available at dinner, but steak, lamb, pork and seafood dishes are also offered, as is a keiki menu, since the concept is a family restaurant.

Entree prices top out at $29.95 on the dinner menu, but at lunch entrees and sandwiches are all under $10. Its breakfast specialties are Lilikoi Brulee French Toast and Eggs Benedict.

Live music is performed on Friday nights, which might be expanded.

Pelekai's employees across the street at Tiare's might join the Honuz ohana when Tiare's and Pali Lanes close in December.

“;We've worked together for years, they're my dedicated employees and they're not going to leave there till it's done,”; Pelekai said.



Blazin' Steaks will be moving out of its hideaway home near Yogurt Mama to move into the former Mama's Island Pizza in the Foodland Shopping Center. Owner Richard Craft Jr. could not be reached, but Kaneohe Ranch executive Kimo Steinwascher said Craft was looking for the improved visibility the location provides.



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