on a dream
Four guys, more than 50 years' experience and a brand new build-out will lead to the opening of Tiki's Grill & Bar in the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel at 2570 Kalakaua Ave.
The old Captain's Table space on the second floor has been gutted for the restaurant and lounge, which will feature tikis from around the Pacific.
University of Hawaii frat brothers Bill Tobin, Kelly McGill and Greg Montgomery have teamed with Fred DeAngelo, former executive chef at Palomino Restaurant Rotisseria Bar, to open the restaurant.
Now in their 30s, Tobin, McGill and Montgomery originally talked about opening a restaurant while members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After graduation, however, each went in their own directions; Tobin to Kiewit Pacific Co., Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu and Lahaina, then to Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch and Crab; McGill to the South Pacific and Saigon, where he owned a restaurant; Montgomery has worked at Sunset Grill, Canoes at the Ilikai and most recently as a manager at Duke's in Waikiki. Part-owner DeAngelo was recruited.
Tiki's restaurant and lounge will offer seating for 275, live Hawaiian music and a late night menu.
DeAngelo has completed the menu, designing signature dishes among the seafood and steak choices. He calls it "casual, approachable sophistication."
"The menu price points are very attractive," he said. "We're not looking for high-end at all." The average check will be $15 at lunch and $20 at dinner, Tobin said. "We're going to try and keep the dinner menu later than most restaurants but even after that we'll have a limited menu through midnight," he said.
The foursome is loathe to compare or contrast their new venture to Montgomery's most recent alma mater, and cross-street competition.
Under the guidance of consultant and restaurateur Ed Wary, the team's search for concept elements led to Mai Kai restaurant in Florida. They liked the Polynesian kitsch they found and told DeAngelo.
"Oh wow my mother was a hula dancer at Mai Kai," he told them, "it was a big 'a-ha!' "
"There's more than just the Fred-connection," Tobin said, as Mai Kai apparently has employed many Hawaii ex-pats.
The team is in the process of hiring some 200 Hawaii residents, with training to begin at the end of this month. Tiki's grand opening nights are scheduled for Oct. 16 to 18.
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