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Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much of the credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a memorable dining experience.
This week, Dining Out got the inside scoop from Fukuya owner Arrison Iwahiro, who provided us with an exclusive glimpse into his South King Street delicatessen and catering service.
Name: Arrison Iwahiro
Title: Owner of Fukuya
Training/Education: Crew up in the kitchen, learning everything from grandparents and parents.
Years at Restaurant: 30+
Who or what inspires you as an owner?
I enjoy carrying on the family business. Fukuya has been around since 1939, so it’s very rewarding to me to serve customers just like my parents and grandparents did many years ago. Back in the day there were many okazuyas around, and we’ve seen some close throughout the years for one reason or another, so I feel grateful that we’ve stood the test of time. It’s also cool to see the loyal customers who have been coming back for many, many years. I’ve seen parents bringing their children, who then grow up, come visit us when they’re back from college, then get married and have families, and I see them bringing their kids, too. To see them sharing this place from generation to generation is really special.
What’s your most popular dish?
We have a few dishes that are really popular across the board, whether it’s people coming in for okazu or catering. The shrimp tempura and miso butterfish are always favorites, and so are our chicken dishes like mochiko chicken and fried chicken. The nori chicken is becoming more and more popular too. People also really like our sushi. I would say about 90 percent of our catering orders include our assorted sushi platter. Shoyu pork is another popular catering dish.
Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?
When we take catering orders, we work with people as much as possible to customize and accommodate catering requests.
For example, many people ask if we can cater short ribs or prime rib, which we can. Another thing that is becoming more popular is that people are asking for vegetarian options, such as a healthy veggie stir fry.
What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received as an owner?
We have great customers, really loyal. When they say, “We wouldn’t go anywhere else,” that makes us feel special. It’s really nice to know that people like what we are putting out. Sometimes, I will have people tell me that they have plans to have us cater their milestone birthday, then I find out it’s a few years away! The fact that they are thinking they want us to be a part of their special occasion is really nice.
If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve?
I would have to say Paul McCartney. He’s one of my favorite musicians. I think if he were to walk into my restaurant, I would make him a plate that would include miso butterfish, shrimp tempura, shiso musubi, cone sushi, chow funn, nori chicken and macaroni potato salad. I know it’s a big plate, but I would want him to have a little of everything.
2710 S. King St.
Open Wednesdays – Sundays, 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
After-hours catering service available.