Ert’s Grill Enthralls Eaters

Columns Pupu Picks

March 24, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

A common opinion held by the majority of local culinary connoisseurs is the notion that small, hole-in-the-wall establishments offer up some of the most eclectic — and delicious — eats.

Ert’s Grill fits the bill to perfection as its unassuming location in Aiea offers up a great selection of plate lunches, breakfast items and assorted pupus that pair perfectly with one’s favorite pau hana beverage. The relaxed, family-style atmosphere and excellent customer service have driven Ert’s popularity ever since co-owners Stephen Ichioka and Clyde Higa opened the eatery opened last August.

  • Co-owners Clyde Higa and Stephen Ichioka
  • Smoked Meat ($12.50 per pound, $5 for a mini plate lunch and $8 for a regular plate lunch)
  • Steak ($12.50 per pound, $5 for a mini plate lunch, $8 for a regular plate lunch and $12 for a large plate lunch)
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“You’ve got to do things with love: cook, serve — everything,” says Ichioka.

Ichioka, a flight attendant at Aloha Airlines for 22 years, and Higa, who currently continues to work during the day as an auto mechanic, have fostered a love for cooking since their childhood days as friends growing up in Wahiawa. The pair developed a passion for food, both through cooking and eating, and the experiences played a key role in developing Ert’s menu.

“We’ve been best friends since we were 6 years old; we’ve known each other forever,” Ichioka says. “We decided to perfect our menu first, and make it how we want it to be.”

“We’re such a small place, and yet, somehow everyone finds their way here,” adds Higa.

Smoked Meat ($12.50 per pound, $5 for a mini plate lunch and $8 for a regular plate lunch) has emerged as the bestseller as the dynamic duo marinate the succulent pork butt overnight and smoke the meat in house for five hours until the ideal combination of taste and texture is achieved. The meat is served with grilled onions, and is perfect as both a satisfying meal or an appetizer amongst friends and family.

“We’re from Wahiawa, and the recipe is based on what we eat when our friends hunt,” says Ichioka. “It’s a long process, we do ‘em right. We also make chicken and pipikaula in the smoker.”

Ert’s also serves up succulent Steak ($12.50 per pound, $5 for a mini plate lunch, $8 for a regular plate lunch and $12 for a large plate lunch) that also can be enhanced with either Teriyaki or Garlic Butter sauce for an additional $1. Diners have established Shrimp & Chips ($6) — juicy shrimp smothered in garlic and served with jumbo crinkle french fries along with a house special sauce — as a must-try.

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)
  • Notes
    • While alcohol is not available for sale, customers are allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages.