Heady times at
Huggos in Kona
Any business born in 1969 has seen its share of ups and downs, and Huggo's Restaurant is definitely in an "up" cycle.
It has been named one of the nation's top neighborhood restaurants in the September issue of Bon Appetit magazine and has received readers' choice honors in four categories in a recent survey by West Hawaii Today.
Bon Appetit has singled Huggo's out before.
Five years ago, it was listed in the top ten of the nation's best waterfront restaurants.
"That really blew us away," said Eric von Platen Luder, co-owner and son of Huggo's founders. "It's once-in-a-lifetime to be mentioned in Bon Appetit if you're lucky."
The latest listing began when a reader requested a recipe for its Grilled Chicken with Tamarind-Orange Glaze.
The magazine contacted the restaurant, tested the recipe, there were more conversations and then a visit from a Bon Appetit photographer.
Von Platen Luder also appreciates the local recognition.
Huggo's On the Rocks, an attached outdoor beachside bar which serves lunch and pupus, was named in the area paper's best cocktails and best happy hour category, while the restaurant won in the best atmosphere and best fish and seafood categories.
His father and partner, Hugo, is "quite a celebrity here in town" who now greets guests and regularly meets friends at the restaurant.
Huggo's employs 120 people including new chef Cliften "Loetree" Berry who was hired away from the Mauna Lani Resort.
"That was really exciting to me," von Platen Luder said, "for an independent restaurant to be able to attract somebody of his caliber."
On the side, Paradise Gourmet Catering is a sister-business to Huggo's, operated by Jillynn Parker and Scott Dodd.
It offers Huggo's items but handles requests ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to "filet mignon served by tuxedo-clad waiters," von Platen Luder said.
Fatherly follow-upThe newest "acquisition" for Marc Resorts Chief Executive Officer Matt Delaney is not a new hotel property with hundreds of heads in beds to worry about.
After battling and beating testicular cancer, Delaney and his wife Karen greeted new son Jake Matthew just before 9 p.m. Aug. 22.
Jake checked in at 8 lbs. 6 oz. and is likely to demand room service at odd hours for several weeks.
Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, 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