Sharing the Whole StoryFeatures Order of the Day
July 8, 2012
Story By: Kelli Shiroma | Photos by: Leah Friel
With its unique decor and dishes that are both flavorful and presented with flair, Yogurstory has captured the attention and appetites of locals everywhere since it opened in November 2010. The eatery originated as a quaint brunch cafe that focused on yogurt, according to chef Andy Dalan. However, Yogurstory has since evolved into a full-service restaurant that offers customers a variety of choices for brunch, dinner, pupus and cocktails.
“(Before) we had about seven or eight yogurt machines and I was hired as a pastry chef,” Dalan recalls. “The owner is a businessman from Korea; in Korea, they have nice, cafe-style eateries so he wanted to make one in Hawaii that was a brunch restaurant. But the restaurant totally transformed — we now do breakfast, lunch, full dinner, appetizers, pupus at night and have a full bar.”
“Originally, this restaurant served mainly coffee, desserts and light sandwiches,” echoes manager Jimmy Kim. “With a name like Yogurstory, a lot of people presumed they would find yogurt machines here … but now, we serve a variety of food — including waffles and omelettes — so now, it’s more of a brunch restaurant. We won the 2011 Ilima Award for ‘Best New Restaurant.'”
Kim says that many customers ask about the restaurant’s unusual name — especially now that the focus is not on yogurt.
“In Korea, when you spell ‘yogurt,’ it’s actually spelled ‘yogur’ — there’s no ‘t’ at the end,” he explains. “This was (the owner’s) first business venture in the U.S.
— he designed all the logos and marketing materials in Korea, but when he came here, he realized that, in the U.S., ‘yogurt’ has a ‘t’ at the end. But he just decided to go with the name (as it was).”
When it comes to the eatery’s menu, there is a plethora of items sure to please those craving something sweet or others looking for a savory meal. Currently, three dishes at Yogurstory reign as customer favorites: Prime Rib Loco Moco ($14.95) — premium slices of prime rib over a bed of white rice, brown gravy and two sunny-side-up eggs — Red Carpet ($9.95), featuring red velvet waffles with taro cream cheese; and Hurricane Rice Bowl ($13.95), a fusion bibimbap with bacon kimchee fried rice, Korean veggies, strips of prime rib and a poached egg.
“The waffles are our own creations,” explains Kim. “Our chef (Dalan) is a dessert chef, so a lot of the food we bring out has a design. It makes it more interesting for the customers.”
Other popular dishes include Chantilly Waffle ($9.95) — the eatery’s newest waffle — “Swagger” Steak Salad ($13.95), complete with thinly sliced New York steak atop mixed greens, pickled onions, fried onions, bacon pecan brittle and Maui onion dressing; Oyster Dynamite ($9.95), featuring three oysters baked with mushrooms, spinach and jalapeno soy; and BulGoGi BBQ Ribs ($9.95).
“We just changed the menu recently,” says Dalan.
“It was limited at the beginning but we just did renovations — we made our kitchen bigger so now we do salads, entrees and waffles. We’re also doing appetizer specials on Fridays and Saturdays.”
While Yogurstory is busiest during the weekends for brunch, the eatery is hoping to attract more customers for dinner. Salads, as well as “Breakfast at Night” dishes — including the popular Classic Eggs Benedict ($10.95) — are available for dinner, and entertainment is featured on Fridays from 9 to 11 p.m.
“We have three different singers who rotate,” confirms Dalan. “They roam around the restaurant with a wireless mic every Friday during dinnertime. Reservations are available, but only for parties of six or more.”
815 Keeaumoku St. #105, Honolulu
Brunch, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Dinner and Pupus
Sunday–Wednesday, 5 p.m.-midnight
Thursday–Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.