“Hawaiian Style Cafe” Expanding to Tokyo

“Ready or not, the pancakes are coming,” says Hawaiian Style Cafe – Hilo’s owner, Guy Kao`o, when describing his restaurant’s Tokyo debut.

Hawaiian Style

With a newly-built location set to debut in Japan’s famous Ginza shopping district, Kao`o is intent on making a big splash using his establishment’s signature plate-hogging flapjacks.

Although Tokyo diners aren’t exactly famous for “super sizing” their meals, Kao`o felt it was important to preserve the restaurant’s core identity, and to promote its homespun appeal.  “It’s right there in our name,” explains Kao`o.  “We plain on giving the people of Japan the most authentic taste of Hawaiian home cooking that they can get.”

Ginza, Japan

Ginza Shopping District

Hawaiian Style’s monster pancakes actually helped open the door to the new location, having been continually splashed over social media and restaurant review sites in recent years.  Indeed, Kao`o’s Japanese partner in the venture discovered the restaurant in part thanks to its wide-spread internet presence.

“I got a call one day, just out of the blue, from a guy wanting to open a local-style restaurant there,” he explains, adding, “within days we were sitting down across from each other.”

Hawaiian Style Pancake

An agreement was made between the two men, followed by a two year search for a high-profile location and test kitchen trials.  “We cooked over there to see what works,” says Kao`o.

To his delight, the most well-received items on the menu included island staples like Kalua Pork with cabbage.  “Home-style cooking really seems to strike a chord in Japan these days,” Kao`o explains, adding, “it’s almost like, the simpler the better.”

Ginza, Tokyo is one of the world’s most heavily trafficked urban locations.  Kao`o, who will be on hand for the restaurant’s opening, feels that the frenetic setting is perfect for making a big splash.

After their Tokyo debut, Kao`o is set on expanding Hawaiian Style’s reach to the U.S. mainland.  “We’re actively scouting locations in California,” he says, adding, “it’s gonna be a busy year.”

Hawaiian Style Cafe’s Ginza, Tokyo location will hold a soft opening on March 27, followed by a grand opening celebration on March 31.

Established in the town of Kamuela, Hawai`i in 1993, the Hawaiian Style Cafe has been serving local portions of local food (with aloha) for over 23 years.  Their Hilo location opened in 2012 and will be followed in 2016 by a location in Ginza, Japan.

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