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Order of the Day

Ert’s Grill: Local Favorites Made & Served with Aloha

Story By Kelli Shiroma Photos By Nathalie Walker
January 29 - February 4, 2012

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Looking for a family-friendly restaurant with a homey atmosphere, serving up some of Hawaii’s most sought-out local favorites? Check out the recently opened Ert’s Grill, located in Aiea Town Square.

The eatery, which opened last August, is co-owned by Stephen (Steve) Ichioka and Clyde Higa, who highlight its originality.

  • Smoked Meat with Onions ($8)
  • Chili with Hot Dog ($7.50)
  • Steak and Shrimp ($12)
  • Hamburger Steak ($7.50)
  • Ert's co-owner and chef Stephen Ichioka
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“The main thing that we emphasize is the way we cook and serve is with love or aloha,” Ichioka says. “Everything is homemade. This restaurant is named for my brother Robert, who passed away in 2010 … he used to tell everybody, ‘My brother can cook.'”

Prior to opening Ert’s Grill, Ichioka and Higa were partners along with some other individuals in Blazin’ Steaks. Opening their own restaurant was an accomplishment, in a sense, as being a part of Blazin’ Steaks “fueled the fire” to start their own company.

“It (being partners in Blazin Steaks) was a small taste of what we could do, so after that, we opened up this place,” Ichioka says.

At Ert’s Grill, customers can choose between breakfast entrees (meat choices include bacon, Spam, Portuguese sausage, Vienna sausage and hot dog), sandwiches and plate lunches (served with two scoops of white or brown rice and a choice of corn, macaroni salad or tossed salad). When it comes to the eatery’s signature dishes, Ichioka says the most popular would be Homemade Hamburger Steak ($5 mini; $7.50 regular), in which the patties are homemade. Smoked Meat with Onions ($8), currently a Friday special, also is popular.

Another highly requested entree at Ert’s Grill is Eric’s Homemade Chili ($4 for bowl, $7.50 for Chili with Hot Dog, $7 for Loco Chili Moco), named for Ichioka’s nephew, Eric.

“Eric helped me make it (the chili) so he got credit,” Ichioka says with a laugh. “Our chili is different because we put bacon and sausage in it.”

One of the eatery’s newest items, Keiki Sports Pack ($3.25) — featuring a scoop of rice, hot dogs and teriyaki chicken — is becoming a favorite, as numerous customers have ordered it ever since it was introduced about three weeks ago.

“It’s pretty recent; the teriyaki chicken can be substituted for any meat we have on the menu,” adds Ichioka.

Ert’s Grill is not only a favorite because of its plate lunch selections, but also because it serves breakfast all day.

“Ert’s Big Breakfast ($7.50) — three eggs, two scoops of rice and two meat choices — is really popular, as is the Steak & Eggs ($7),” says Higa.

“Our steak is popular because we always use a good cut of meat,” adds Ichioka. “Our Breakfast Bento ($6.75) is really popular. It has steak, two eggs, two scoops of rice with furikake and a hot dog.”

Specials change daily at Ert’s Grill, featuring dishes such as Smoked Meat with Onions. The eatery originally featured four specials a day, but has since reduced the number of specials to two entrees.

“Every day we try to make something new, like a stir fry, chicken dish or salad,” Ichioka says. “We want to have something that we consider original. We almost always have homemade baked goods, too.”

In the near future, upcoming changes for the eatery include looking into an Ert’s Grill lunch wagon and introducing a new menu, to which favorites like the Smoked Meat with Onions will be added, as well as additional chicken and fish items. Ichioka also notes that Ert’s Grill has been doing fundraisers for different sports teams, in which select menu items, such as Breakfast Bento, are sold for lower prices.

Ert’s Grill

  • Where
    • 99-082 Kauhale Street #B10
    • Aiea, HI 96701
  • Call
    • (808) 488-8898
  • Hours
    • Sunday – Monday
    • 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Lunch Only)
    • Tuesday – Saturday
    • 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Lunch and Dinner)