A Menu That’s Got Soul

Ali Carte Columns

March 3, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

The new sous chef at Kenny’s Restaurant, James Drewery, is jazzing up the menu with some good ol’ soul food with a local twist. “I want to bring local and Southern flavors together,” says the Virginia-raised chef, whose roots go back to South Carolina. While the establishment will still serve your longtime favorites, it is ready to unveil some of the Southern food connoisseur’s best recipes inspired by his mother’s cooking.

  • BBQ Ribs ($18.99)
  • Assistant manager Duck Sheldon, sous-chef James Drewery and assistant manager Erlene Hutchinson
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Dining Out was lucky enough to sample the upscale comfort food before it hits menus this month and we can assure you the homemade classics will be instant hits. Drewery’s Smoky Bourbon BBQ Ribs ($18.99, half rack and two-piece chicken combo; $23, full rack; $13.99, three-piece chicken plate), for example, is a dish filled with mouth-watering creations such as succulent ribs and juicy chicken smothered in his rustic Smokey Bourbon barbecue sauce.

“The sauce has bourbon in it, but the alcohol is burned out so the flavor of bourbon is left. It also has a hint of honey and the barbecue retains a deep, smoky flavor,” says Drewery. It’s a good thing whichever option you choose comes with an extra 2 ounces of sauce, as you’ll be soaking up every last bit of the sweet and tangy covering that’s full of texture to optimally stick to the meat.

The only thing capable of pulling you away from such finger-licking good ribs is the unimaginably divine Honey Butter Cornbread ($1.99 per slice), served with sweet honey butter, which melts into each warm slice of heaven. Its gloriously golden-baked top reveals a perfectly moist inside that will leave you addicted — seriously addicted!

And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, a choice of two sides, made with an extra dose of love, complete this epic Southern spread. Papaya juice adds a local twist to the coleslaw, while barbecue sauce takes baked beans from ordinary to extraordinary.

The feast of ribs is one of many Southern-inspired dishes Kenny’s will continue to roll out. Smoky Bourbon Kalua BBQ Sliders, Smoky Bourbon BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, salads and vegetarian options are anxiously anticipated. Sides also will include classics such as collard greens.

When it comes to these soulful new menu items, the sous chef’s passion for cooking them is reason enough to experience their tastiness. “It’s Southern food, but I, personally, I was raised with this. I know it, it’s in my blood.”

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