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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, November 2, 2001

Dining Scene: Lunch Break
Taking lunchwagon cuisine to a new level

By Debra Yuen
Advertiser TGIF Editor

Cora Stevens serves Simply Ono lunchwagon customers on the grounds of the Municipal Building.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

The first thing you must know about Simply Ono is that it is no ordinary lunchwagon. With a menu that ranges from mahimahi with lemon butter caper sauce to Himalayan red rice salad, from macadamia-crusted opah to Greek salad, this is a dispenser of meals that lend great dignity to the lowly Styrofoam takeout container.

Second, get there early before they run out of goodies (which change every day).

Third, we're really jealous of the city workers whose back yard — the Municipal Building — houses the lunchwagon five days a week.

Oh, there's a fourth, too: In addition to the fancier items on the menu, Simply Ono offers real comfort food. The baked spaghetti ($5) might look like the stuff public-school cafeterias used to make, but it's way, way better. The garlic chicken ($4.50) is nothing less than wonderful (get it with the garlic rice, and you'll be in garlic heaven; sorry, co-workers!). The chicken adobo has a perfect tang of vinegar. Pork squash ($4.50) is ... simply ono!

And fifth: Get ready to grind, because they really load you up with food. Most plate lunches come with a choice of white, brown or garlic rice, and mac or tossed salad or sometimes okara (a cold tofu dish). While you're waiting, you can have a cup of juice from a big dispenser (until it runs out).

Simply Ono also makes sandwiches, soups and desserts (wow, strawberries Romanoff?!). Most plate lunches are under $6, many under $5.

The Simply Ono lunchwagon is parked between the Municipal Building, 650 S. King St., and its parking structure. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. weekdays, except holidays. If you choose to walk through the courtyard of the building, you might have to sign in or show an ID at security desks at both ends. It's worth it. 255-2283.