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Order of the Day

Out With the Old, Bringing In the New

By Kelli Shiroma Photos By Nathalie Walker
July 15, 2012

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Despite its name, New Violet’s Grill is far from being the “new kid on the block.” Currently located in Kapalama Shopping Center, the eatery has been in existence for more than 60 years and is now under new management, according to owner Cindy Suehisa.

“It’s been under new management since May 1,” she confirms.

When asked why the restaurant name is “New Violet’s Grill,” Suehisa mentions that additions to the menu played a role in the name change.

“Our family — with my auntie — took over the restaurant (from the previous owners) in 1998,” Suehisa explains. “When my brother took over the restaurant around 2001, we changed some of the food on the menu. Now there’s more Okinawan food on the menu than there was before.”

New Violet’s Grill — which is usually most crowded during weekends — is known for its homey, family-oriented atmosphere.

“The environment is relaxing; it’s a place where everything is homecooked,” Suehisa states. “Everything is made from scratch.”

The eatery provides customers with both Japanese and Okinawan menus, and takeout options are available. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes come off of the Okinawan menu, according to Suehisa. Items are sold either a la carte or in complete meals. Complete meals include the entree; rice and tsukemono; a choice of miso soup or tossed green salad; coffee, tea (hot or iced), Green River or fruit punch; and dessert.

“The Oxtail Soup ($10.95 a la carte; $14.95 complete meal), Pig Feet Soup ($10.95 a la carte; $14.95 complete meal) and the Chanpuru (Stir Fry) dishes are popular,” she says. “The Oxtail Soup is our signature dish, but we also have local favorites — Hamburger Steak with Fried Onions and Brown Gravy ($9.95 a la carte; $14.95 complete meal) and Loco Moco ($9.95 a la carte; $14.95 complete meal) also are really popular.”

A customer favorite at New Violet’s Grill is Violet’s Special ($18.95) — sashimi with a choice of two entrees, such as Teriyaki Chicken, Ahi Katsu, Kalbi, Shrimp Tempura and Shoyu Pork.

“We’re going to change Violet’s Special to have three choices instead of two choices,” Suehisa adds.

Besides the change to Violet’s Special, there will be further changes to the menu that customers can look forward to.

“We’re going to try to have a daily special every day,” Suehisa explains. “(Examples of current daily specials include) Ahi Bone ($13.95), Steamed Opaka ($11.95 a la carte; $15.95 complete meal), Grilled Opaka ($10.95 a la carte; $14.95 complete meal) and Garlic Ahi ($14.95). We also have Breakfast Specials, including a Waffle Special with Meat ‘n Egg ($6.85), a Spam Omelet with Starch ($5.75) and a Vegetable Omelet with Starch ($6.25). We have these specials on an everyday basis. With our new menu that we’re making, we took some things out and we’re going to put in some other things — we are going to put in the dishes we make every day and make other specials.”

New Violet’s Grill also is looking to expand its promotions, in an effort to increase awareness and attract younger generations to the restaurant, according to Suehisa.

“(Right now), from Monday thru Wednesday, we have a 15 percent off discount for senior citizens,” she says. “The discount is available all day for seniors age 60 and older. We’re also going to start getting a kids’ menu going, and we’re going to have kids eat free with one adult entree on Mondays. Currently, individuals from the older generation frequent our restaurant, but we’re trying to get the younger ones to come in.”

New Violet’s Grill

1210 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu
841.8535
Daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.