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Veg'n Out

Kenny’s Kicks It Up

Story By Terri Hefner Photos By Nathalie Walker
June 17 - 23, 2012

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Change is inevitable, especially when the next generation shares fresh, new ideas and concepts. It can open up a whole new world — or in this case, menu. Kenny’s Restaurant owner John Fujieki knows this firsthand, and when Dining Out inquired whether he has anything on his menu that doesn’t include meat or fish, he replied with a chuckle, “Yes. My daughter is a vegetarian.”

Well, there you go. But the eatery isn’t just coming up with vegetarian options. The whole operation is undergoing a bit of a transformation, although loyal customers need not worry. The eatery knows where its roots are, and won’t stop offering its local-style faves.

“I’m taking local favorites and kicking it up a notch,” says sous chef James Drewery. “I want to put Kenny’s on the map.”

Recently, for Mother’s Day, Drewery cooked up a special penne pasta with sundried tomatoes and grilled chicken that went over quite well with customers. So he adapted the recipe to appeal to those who choose not to eat meat.

The dish — Sundried Tomato, Basil Pesto Linguine ($14.99), in which the chef replaces the penne with linguine, features a flavorful pesto that combines fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and Drewery’s tasty twist, giving almonds a whirl instead of the more traditional pine nuts or walnuts — is as appetizing to look at as it is delicious.

Sandwiches are, of course, favorite lunchtime fare, but this is one you’ll savor any time of day. Kenny’s offers a grilled Vegetable Panini ($11.99) that’s packed with tomatoes, onions, grilled eggplant and peppers, sauteed spinach and Swiss cheese topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, then pressed so all those savory flavors meld together.

Change is good.

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