Kylie Coonse does a little bit of everything for Dixie Grill and Auntie Pasto's restaurants. Above, she serves up an order at Dixie Grill.

Restaurants create
dual work load

An adminstrative assistant
handles everything from
catering to accounting

Kylie Coonse is a real party girl -- at least when her employer assigns her to help cater company parties during the holidays and for other special occasions. She also is administrative assistant to the director of operations for the Auntie Pasto's and two Dixie Grill restaurants on Oahu. So actually she spends most of her time at work in the offices and dining rooms of the restaurants. Coonse said that along with her light bookkeeping duties at Kapono's, where she worked previously, she has been inspired by her current job to change her future college-degree plans from dance and teaching to accounting. A graduate of Moanalua High School, Coonse, 26, is single and lives in Hawaii Kai.

Who: Kylie Coonse

Title: Administrative assistant, Dixie Grill and Auntie Pasto's restaurants

Job: Assistant to the director of operations for the restaurants

Question: Your title is administrative assistant. Who do you assist?

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.

Coonse handles administrative duties for the restaurants.

Q: When did they open the Aiea Dixie Grill?

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.

"Hawaii at Work" features people telling us what they do for a living. Send suggestions to mcoleman@starbulletin.com


Tuesday, January 4, 2005

» The director of operations for the Auntie Pasto's and Dixie Grill restaurants is Jim Hamachek. His name was misspelled as Hamacheck in a story on Page C1 yesterday.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.

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