Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, February 26, 2006

Early-bird diners catch the savings

Marie Ramiscal, left, and Mary Manchester offer guests Cobb salad, pork chops, spaghetti and paninis.

Photos by Randy T. Fujimori

Miyazono Minyo Buyo dance club members enjoy a meal here after every show. They include, clockwise, from bottom, Rose Sugai, Madge Sodetani, Miyoshi Miyahira, Chieko Johnson and sensei Edith Miyazono.

Kenny's Restaurant

Where: Kamehameha Shopping Center

Call: 841-3733/841-0931

Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays

Web site: kennysrestaurant.com

It's not an early-bird dinner, but an early, early-bird special, with the emphasis on the first "early," according to Kenny's Restaurant manager Russell Ratay.

"We've never done anything like this," he said. "We started this past Monday and we were pleased with what we saw."

While most restaurants that offer an early-evening special will do so between 5 and 6 p.m., or from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Kenny's is available Mondays through Thursdays, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

"It's a way to get more people in here during that time," Ratay said. "And as more people hear about it, I think it's going to work out well."

While the early-bird list consists of only eight items (each discounted by $2.50 from the regular menu price), they represent a good cross section of the restaurant's regular a la carte menu, offering a fish, chicken, beef, pasta, salad and Japanese entree.

"We cover all the bases," said catering manager Martin Corcino. "There's something for everyone. And it's OK to have it to go if people want."

One of the more heartier items is the lightly-battered pork chops ($13.49), which comes complete with rice, french fries or mashed potatoes, dinner roll and a crunchy sweet banana fritter.

"The chef had to run out the next day to get more chops," Ratay said. "Apparently they're popular with our guests."

For a meal-in-one, Kenny's Cobb salad ($6.99) is a huge bowl filled with a mound of shredded lettuce that's garnished with avocado, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and bits of chicken and bacon.

Other early-bird entrees include rib-eye steak ($12.99), egg-battered mahi mahi fillet ($11.49), roast pork ($10.49), spaghetti and meatballs ($9.99) with garlic bread, oyaku donburi ($7.49) and the "Kamaaina" chop steak ($8.99).

"The sauce can be made with Splenda, a sugar substitute," Corcino said of the chop steak. "We have a lot of diabetic customers so we do this for them."

Like they do after every performance, the ladies of Miyazono Minyo Buyo — a club specializing in traditional Japanese dance — sat down to lunch this past Tuesday at Kenny's.

"The food is very good and that's why we always come here," smiled Rose Sugai, in between bites of her sandwich and french fries. "And they've got a lot of choices."

These include a wide array of fresh fish (call ahead for the day's selections), Kenny's signature fried chicken ($10.99), chicken sukiyaki ($13.99), barbecue beef tri-tip ($15.49) and such local favorites as "Local Boy" stew ($11.49) and Korean-style marinated boneless chicken ($10.99).

"We had a great year last year and we're on pace to do even better this year," Ratay asserted. "Short of knocking out the wall next door, we can't fit anymore people in the room."

Some of the newest items to be added to the menu are panini sandwiches, grilled rosemary focaccia filled with hot ham and cheese ($8.99), roasted vegetables ($7.99), roast beef and cheddar ($9.49), tuna ($7.99) or sliced corned beef with Swiss cheese and sauer kraut ($9.99).

Each focaccia sandwich is accompanied by a pickle spear and a choice of french fries, Caesar salad, tossed green salad or soup of the day.

"These sandwiches are by far the most successful items we've put on the menu in recent history," Ratay said. "We'll have 16 orders and we can only do four at a time. So our guys are going nuts trying to keep up."

And soon, Ratay predicted they'll be even busier once two parking spots become reserved solely for take-out orders.

"The sign and paint have been ordered," he said. "And we're ready to fax our menus to people who want to pick up dinner before going home."