Willoughby’s: The Perfect Landing Spot
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Nestled below the hustle and bustle of commuters fighting traffic on the H-1 Freeway and surrounded by the organized chaos flowing to and from the Honolulu International Airport sits one of Oahu’s hidden culinary gems.
And, appropriately, Chef Gem Bautista is behind the alluring array of dishes available at Willoughby’s Restaurant in the OHANA Honolulu Airport Hotel. The eatery serves up hearty American comfort food with breakfast served daily (6:30 to 10 a.m.) and dinner available Tuesday through Thursday (5 to 9 p.m.).
Willoughby’s is a perfect spot where one can enjoy a meal prior to boarding or after completing a rigorous flight. Also, the convenient location just off Nimitz Highway makes Willoughby’s an ideal kamaaina destination. General manager Simeon Miranda explains that the hotel’s target market is the “one-nighters” in reference to travelers stopping over for a brief visit while on business or waiting to complete the next leg of their flight.
“Most of our customers are usually staying here for a day. It’s their transition between when they get off the plane and when they leave,” Miranda says.
Those diners who may remember visiting the eatery are invited to rediscover what Willoughby’s has to offer. For nearly 50 years, the restaurant has served locals and visitors alike, although the hotel in which it sits has changed names along with various owners and management groups that have headed the property.
“It’s always been Willoughby’s Restaurant, but the name of the hotel has changed,” says Miranda of the restaurant that was built in 1965. “It’s a great opportunity for those who have dined here before to reconnect.”
Croissant Scramble ($10.95) serves as Willoughby’s most popular breakfast item, and the dish resembles a hearty omelet served between two flaky croissant halves. The three scrambled eggs envelope onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes, and are served with a choice of hash browns or fresh fruit.
As a precursor to dinner, Bautista recommends Kalua Pulled Pork Sliders ($10.95). The pupu features juicy kalua pork topped with cole slaw served on buttery taro rolls alongside a tangy barbecue sauce and lomi lomi tomatoes.
Willoughby’s dinner selections also have drawn rave reviews, including Baby Back Ribs ($23.95). These fall-off-the-bone ribs are prepared in a special dry rub and then are smothered in a chili barbecue sauce. Crispy onion rings, cooked vegetables and a choice of steamed white rice, mashed potatoes or fries also accompany the ample portion of meat.
Shrimp Scampi ($18.95) features juicy sauteed shrimp in a garlic and tomato sauce on a bed of linguine and comes with garlic bread — perfect for dipping in the mouth-watering sauce.
As a special scoop for loyal Dining Out readers, Miranda is pleased to announce that the lounge area adjacent to Willoughby’s and the hotel lobby will reopen later this month following extensive renovations. The relaxing locale will allow guests and diners an opportunity to grab a pau hana beverage or pupu in a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
- Ohana Honolulu Airport Hotel
- 3401 North Nimitz Highway
- Honolulu, HI 96819
- (808) 836-0661
- 6:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. (Breakfast Daily)
- 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Dinner Tuesday – Thursday)