Opulicious Serves Up Local Favorites and Family-Friendly FunColumns Foodie Fare
July 15, 2012
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
It’s mid-afternoon at Opulicious Restaurant, and a family of three is enjoying their plate lunches when the owner and chef Kelli Kay Chun walks up and offers to make the little girl a balloon animal. The girl asks for a butterfly, and Chun quickly sets off to twist two long balloons into a large, colorful butterfly while the family continues to eat.
It’s that kind of family fun that Chun hopes to achieve at Opulicious — a new Coolidge Street restaurant that serves what Chun refers to as “local to the max” food. “A lot of eateries are just places to eat,” Chun says. “But my concept is, hey, you know, let’s have fun. Here you can come to a place that not only has great food, but you can have fun, too.”
But, Chun says, the crucial aspect to a successful restaurant is, of course, great food — and Opulicious has plenty of that. Like, for instance, the Auntie Tita Hawaiian Burger ($6.95), which comes with two homemade hamburger patties, two strips of bacon and a pineapple slice, all drizzled in teriyaki sauce. For just one more dollar, you can upgrade to a combo meal that includes fries and a drink. And for $1 more, you can get Opulicious’ delectable sweet potato fries.
Other popular local favorites include Shoyu Chicken ($7.85), Cold Ginger Chicken ($7.85) and Korean Garlic Chicken ($8.25). This month’s special is a new dish — Chicken Katsu Loco Moco ($6.95), a creative and tasty twist on the classic loco moco.
Opulicious also serves up tasty breakfast treats such as Portuguese Sausage, Eggs and Rice ($7).
And keeping in line with Opulicious’ family-friendly fun, the restaurant has a dessert designed specifically for keiki: Dirty Worms ($3.75), which is chocolate pudding, crumbled Oreo cookie bits and gummy worms.
Although the restaurant opened just last year, Chun has been cultivating her culinary craft since she was a kid helping out in her mother’s kitchen. In college, she went on to study culinary arts and nutrition. “I love to eat and I love cooking,” Chun says. “A lot of our recipes here are inspired from my mother, who is from Kauai. Like our Kilauea, Kauai Apricot Baby Back Ribs ($12), which people are buying like crazy.”
Whether you’re looking for a place for family night or just to enjoy a low-key meal with friends, Opulicious’ welcoming environment will ensure that you have a good time — and Chun’s collection of quality local favorites will ensure that you have good food to go with. “It’s a conducive environment to come down and relax, talk story,” Chun says. “And of course the key is really, really good food.”
On the Side
“I love food, and I love balloons,” says Opulicious Restaurant owner and chef Kelli Kay Chun. She has been a balloon artist for 12 years, working birthday parties and at various restaurants. Chun also has worked as a magician and a clown. It was twisting balloons tableside at another restaurant when she had the idea to start her own restaurant — one that combined the two things that she was most passionate about.
“I thought, why not have a restaurant where I can do this every day?” While Chun admits that life in the restaurant industry can be extremely hectic, she says that it’s all worth it. “It is gratifying because you see the customer happy, you see kids who are happy. And when you’re happy, I’m happy.
“Life is good because I found something that I really enjoy doing, and it is wonderful,” Chun says. “Every day, I wake up and it’s exciting because I am doing something that I love. Now it’s like every day is a birthday party for me because I get to twist balloons and I also get to cook.”
946 Coolidge St., Honolulu
Open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.