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American Faves With a Local Flair

Digest Foodie Fare

January 1, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Kenny’s Restaurant has been a favorite local haunt for more than 40 years. Located in Kalihi, the eatery has the homelike feel of a classic American diner — with a local spin. The cuisine itself, too, is a mix of American favorites and local creations. So slide into a roomy booth by the window or take a seat at the counter and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner served by Kenny’s helpful, friendly staff.

  • Kenny's Cobb Salad ($10.79)
  • Shrimp Scampi ($15.99)
  • Kenny's Famous Chinese Chicken Salad ($10.79)
  • Vegetable Lumpia ($5.99)
  • Vegetarian Benedict ($9.99)
  • Assistant manager James Cavette, chef Ernesto Yeban and Erlene Hutchinson with a variety of Kenny's cuisine.
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“It’s island food,” says chef Ernesto Yeban. “It’s a combination between local food and international dishes.”

Popular breakfast items include Vegetarian Benedict ($9.99), which features spinach, garlic, tomato and poached eggs — topped with a creamy hollandaise sauce and served with hash browns. Another morning favorite is Kenny’s Specialty Full Stack Pancakes ($10.25), which come in four flavors: Chocolate Chip with Almonds, Strawberry, Peach and Haupia.

For lunch and dinner, Kenny’s offers an array of burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, noodles and other entrees. Customer favorites include Kenny’s Famous Chinese Chicken Salad ($10.79), Shrimp Scampi ($15.99), Lumpia ($5.99), Barbecued Beef Tri-Tip ($16.99) and Kenny’s Cobb Salad ($10.79). Plus, Yeban adds, popular local-style dishes include Pork Adobo And Vegetable Lumpia Combination ($12.99) and Chicken Katsu ($13.09).

And according to many of Kenny’s regular customers, Yeban says, Kenny’s fish dishes are not to be missed. “Part of what Kenny’s is known for is serving fish,” Yeban says. “And many of them are local fish.” For a taste of what everybody is raving about, try the Mahi Mahi Filet ($14.99) or the Fresh Ahi ($9.29).

Another must-try is Kenny’s Hawaiian Plate ($16.89), which is offered every Friday. The plate includes lau lau, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, kalua pig, and a choice of haupia, rice or poi. In the new year, Kenny’s is looking to offer the Hawaiian Plate on Thursdays as well.

On the Side

Kenny’s Restaurant chef Ernesto Yeban credits his home-style cooking skills to his mother.

“My mother is a good cook,” Yeban says. Originally from the Philippines, Yeban grew up in the kitchen. “I would always cook for my friends.”

These days, Yeban likes to experiment with new dishes and is an expert in various types of cuisine.

While Kenny’s Restaurant has been a longtime local favorite, it’s certainly not stuck in the past. Yeban and other Kenny’s cooks are constantly updating the restaurant’s menu and concocting new dishes. The restaurant offers a rotating set of specials — specials change every two weeks — for 20 percent off regular prices.

Right now, Kenny’s is creating a new list of specials that is based on customer input. Yeban explains that the restaurant has a loyal set of customers — many of its patrons are regulars who just can’t get enough of Kenny’s cuisine.

“I know we have some new menu items that people are asking for, and so I am trying to see how I can include these in the specials,” Yeban explains. “I try to work with the customers before putting up new specials.” He adds that a common request is for Japanese dishes, and the restaurant is currently working to add Yakitori and Tonkatsu to an upcoming specials list.

In the new year, Kenny’s patrons can expect to see some new customer-inspired 20 percent off specials for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Kenny’s Restaurant

  • Where
    • Kamehameha Shopping Center
    • 1620 North School Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Call
    • (808) 841-0931
  • Hours
    • 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Friday – Saturday