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HAWAII AT WORK
Who: Kylie Coonse
Title: Administrative assistant, Dixie Grill and Auntie Pasto's restaurants
Job: Assistant to the director of operations for the restaurants
Answer: I assist Jim Hamachek, the director of operations.
Q: How long have you been doing that?
A: I became the official administrative assistant in May, but I was working in the headquarters since February -- just sort of part time, helping out the controller, who covered all three stores.
Q: Covered, past tense?
A: Um, yeah. Well, he's no longer here.
Q: So who does that now?
A: The director of operations handles his duties.
Q: What exactly are your job duties?
A: I do a little bit of everything. I go out and help with catering gigs. I handle some of the bookkeeping duties. And I do some of the administration -- as far as whatever Jim hands me to do -- so that's when I become the assistant.
Q: How did you get the job?
A: I came back here after I left Kapono's (the nightclub at Aloha Tower Marketplace). In fact, Dixie Grill was the very first restaurant that I ever worked in, when they first opened, years ago.
Q: Which store was that?
A: That was the Ward Store, in early '98.
A: Around two years later. I think in late '99.
Q: What were you doing for Kapono's?
A: I was operations manager, so it was similar work actually. I covered the day staff, which so far as covering the day staff went was minimal. I also managed the server department. I handled private parties (at the club), and then did other administration.
Q: I met you recently while your current company was catering a company holiday party. How many of those do you work on a year?
A: Oh jeez. (Laughter). You know, I think right now, at least the ones I'm going to -- and I know they do ones without me, some of the smaller ones, or with other staff -- I think I'm doing two a month, if not more, on average. So those are the large ones, because those are the ones they need the most help on.
Q: Are they fun to do?
A: I have a blast at those. Everybody I work with, we all get along really well. And, of course, everybody at the events seems to be pretty happy when we come along.
Q: Have you ever had any awkward moments at those parties?
A: No. The only moment I find a little awkward is when I run into someone I know, because then I want to chitchat and catch up, but I have to get back to work. But other than that, no awkward moments.
Q: Dixie Grill does a lot of promotions with the country radio station locally, so does that mean Dixie Grill food is country western? Or is it more southern cuisine -- you know, the fried okra and stuff like that.
A: It's pretty much southern.
Q: But it's a pretty heavy blend, right?
A: There is. For instance, one of our barbecue sauces is southwest Texas flavor. It has Tex-Mex spices that give it that feel.
Q: Whose food do you like more: Dixie Grill or Auntie Pasto's?
A: (Laughter) That's a hard one, because I'm from North Carolina, so I'm used to going back to North Carolina to visit family, and eating all this wonderful barbecue sauce on fried chicken and fried okra. But I like both restaurants a lot. Even before I started working for them, I used to go to both restaurants a lot. It just depends on how I feel.