Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Ben Dowling of Nick's Fishmarket pours a ladleful
of flaming brandy down a spiral of orange peel and
into a pan of cherries as he demonstrates the making
of Cherries Jubilee.

Fine time to dine

Restaurants make it appetizingly
easy to put your money
where your heart is

Restaurants sign on to contribute to relief funds

By Betty Shimabukuro

In 30 years of starting small fires in ritzy dining rooms, Ben Dowling reports just one undue incident: One night the Cherries Jubilee cart was set too close to a poorly hydrated hanging plant. "I flashed the flame and it went up and caught the dry plant and the fire went straight up to the ceiling. Everybody in the restaurant stopped breathing."

Luckily, the fire put itself out quickly. "I told everybody it was part of the act."

Cherries Jubilee -- performance art with a hint of danger.

Dowling, the general manager at Nick's Fishmarket, has chosen the venerable dessert as his restaurant's contribution to Dine for America tomorrow night.

Restaurants throughout the state are joining two nationwide campaigns tomorrow to raise money for relief efforts and for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dine for America is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association to raise money for the American Red Cross Relief Fund. A separate event, Windows of Hope, will benefit families of the food-service employees of the World Trade Center, including the 79 who died in the center's 110th-floor restaurant, Windows on the World.

Dine for America

Restaurants nationwide are collecting donations tomorrow.

To make a direct donation: Send checks to American Red Cross, Dine For America, 438 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

Information: Call (206) 777-6677, Ext. 236 or visit the Web site

Windows of Hope

Restaurants nationwide are being asked to contribute 10 percent of tomorrow's sales.

To make a direct donation: Send checks to Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, c/o David Berdon & Co., LLP, 415 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017

Information: Call (212) 893-3710 or visit

Hearts of Hawaii Unite

Food festival: 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18

Place: Victoria Ward Centre

Tickets: $25, available at Ticket Plus, Blaisdell box office, Ward Warehouse ticket booth, and Ryan's, Palomino and Kincaid's restaurants

Charge-by-phone: 526-4400

And next week, Hearts of Hawaii Unite will bring two dozen Oahu restaurants together for a food festival at Ward Centre to raise funds for local victims of the terrorist attacks.

It's been a difficult time for restaurants, with revenues down since the attacks, but participants are giving in any way they can. Some will donate a percentage of tomorrow's proceeds, others will throw special parties with ticket prices going to the fund, and some will simply put out collection boxes for customers. Waiters and waitresses are donating tip money.

"The order is, everybody on Oct. 11 has to go out for dinner," Dowling says.

Nick's will donate 100 percent of the $8.50 Cherries Jubilee dessert to the Red Cross. Dowling says he picked this particular dish "because it's exciting and a lot of fun. It's not just a plate." Also, it tends to sell itself. Customers see one ignited in the dining room and they want their own fire, too.

Ed Wary, owner of Dixie Grill and Auntie Pasto's restaurants, is local representative to the National Restaurant Association. He says more than 800 restaurants of every size are signed up for the day, which commemorates the one-month mark since the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

His restaurants will donate 20 percent of their proceeds, plus collect extra donations from patrons. Dixie Grill will sell special T-shirts, with $10 of the $15 price going to the campaign.

Tom Valenti, chef and owner of Ouest, a Manhattan restaurant, helped launch the Windows of Hope effort. He said he decided soon after the attack to donate his proceeds from Oct. 11 to help the families of the 79 Windows employees who were killed or are missing. (Those employees included Hawaii's Heather Ho, pastry chef at Windows on the World.) Valenti then phoned a few of his friends in the business -- chefs such as Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill and Mario Batali of Babbo.

As word spread to more than 6,000 restaurants throughout the world, Valenti and Windows executive chef Michael Lomonaco realized they could expand the fund to include the families of all food-service workers at the Trade Center.

"These are not high wage earners. These are not pension plan, 401(k)-types," Valenti said. "That is a group of people that hopefully put some money away, but a lot of them were living check to check."

Participating restaurants include everything from hip Los Angeles nightspots to a Dairy Queen in the Midwest, Valenti said. He is encouraging participants to give at least 10 percent of tomorrow's proceeds and is hoping the effort will draw "tens of millions" of dollars.

Among Oahu restaurants taking part in the effort are Alan Wong's Restaurant and Beau Soleil.

At Nick's, Dowling ends his Cherries Jubilee demonstration and prepares to greet dinner guests. Playing with fire was fun, but his mood has shifted.

With the nation at war, he says, concerted national support is critical and restaurants must be part of the effort.

"In this war, each one of us is a soldier," he says. "This is our way of fighting back."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Restaurants sign on to
contribute to relief funds

These are restaurants that have signed up through the sponsoring organizations, but other restaurants may be participating as well.

Dine for America

Donations collected tomorrow will go to the American Red Cross Relief Fund:


Ruth's Chris Steak House: Donating 10 percent of proceeds from lunch and dinner (Maui locations will also participate).

These restaurants will collect donations: Subway,

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Payao Thai, Boomerangs, Kengo's, Ocean Club, Jose's Taqueria

Free entertainment:

Honolulu Brass, noon to 1 p.m.

Dita Holifield with Ellsworth Simeona and Ernest Chang, 7 to 9 p.m.


Compadres Bar & Grill: Donating all operating profits; servers will donate a portion of tips to families of fire and police officers killed (Maui location also participating).

Ryan's: Donating all operating profits


Kincaid's Fish Chop and Steakhouse: Donating all operating profits.

Old Spaghetti Factory: Matching donations made by guests and employees.


Jimmy's Lakeside Cafe: Holding a pupu party with live Hawaiian music, 4 to 7 p.m., and will donate the $20-per-person admission. Special guests will be mess chefs from USS Los Angeles submarine.

Dots Restaurant: Donating 20 percent of sales.


Palomino Euro Bistro: Donating 100 percent of operating profits.

Dixie Grill (Ward Avenue and in Aiea): Donating 20 percent of sales.

Auntie Pasto's (Beretania Street and Kapahulu Avenue): Donating 20 percent of sales.

Outback Steakhouse: Donating 100 percent of gross sales (Maui location also participating).

Nick's Fishmarket: Donating 100 percent of sales of Cherries Jubilee.

Indigo: Donating all proceeds from dessert sales from both lunch and dinner; hostesses will pass a calabash to collect donations; servers and staff will donate part of their tips.


A portion of sales at these restaurants tomorrow will go to the families of food-service employees killed in the attack on the World Trade Center:


Beau Soleil

Alan Wong's Restaurant

Maui Tacos (Mililani and Kailua)


Hula Grill


Ka'anapali Beach Hotel

Pacific O

Penne Pasta Café

Maui Tacos, all locations

Big Island

Maui Tacos (Hilo)


Participating in a food festival Oct. 18 to benefit families of Hawaii victims of the terrorist attacks:

Aaron's Atop the Ala Moana, Brew Moon Restaurant and Microbrewery, Cha-Cha-Cha Salsaria, Chai's Island Bistro, Chart House, Compadres Bar & Grill, Don Ho's Island Grill, Donato's, Euram Coffee, Hanohano Room, Kaka'ako Bakers, Kaka'ako Kitchen, Kincaid's Fish Chop & Steakhouse, Lucy's Grill & Bar, Michel's, Palomino Euro Bistro, Prince Court, Ryan's Grill, Side Street Inn/Fort Street Bar and Grill, Starbucks Coffee, Sunset Grill, 3660 on the Rise, Tropilicious Ice Cream and Sorbet, Tokyo Tokyo/Wasabi Bistro.

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