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Good Golly, Miss Molly … Little Richard is back in the Islands, thanks to impersonator, tribute artist and entertainer Garry Moore. A local boy raised in Haleiwa, Moore currently resides in Mililani and takes the stage in Legends in Concert Waikiki tonight and tomorrow night performing as the outrageous “Architect of Rock ‘n Roll.”
In the meantime, however, Moore fueled up for his upcoming shows by partaking in a meal at Panya Bakery, Bistro & Bar, as he takes the spotlight in this week’s Dining With the Stars.
Moore and I escaped the hustle and bustle of the post-holiday rush and paid a visit to Panya’s Ala Moana Center location, where we were greeted with a host of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including six-piece Gyoza, Laksa, Steak Salad and Steamed Sea Bass. Best known for its eclectic Euro-Asian fare, Panya made a great first impression on Moore, who was beyond excited about this new dining experience.
“The food here is very unique. My favorites have to be the Sea Bass and Laksa,” says Moore. “The Laksa is awesome, I’ve never had anything like this. The first bite was absolutely delicious and the spice is so good, it just creeps up on you. I’ll definitely be back for more.”
A house specialty, Laksa is a Malaysian-Singapore-inspired noodle dish. Its soup base is a blend of coconut milk, chili oil and chicken broth, and a mound of noodles and a medley of seafood complete the dish.
“The gyoza also pairs well with the noodles. I’ve had gyoza many times before, but this one stands out,” he adds of the plump dumplings filled with shrimp, pork and vegetables.
Moore also had nothing but good things to say about Panya’s Steamed Sea Bass. Presented on a bed of tofu and served with a bowl of rice, the sea bass is soaked in a flavor-intense shoyu sauce and garnished with chives.
“The fish is really good. You wouldn’t think to pair it with tofu, but it works very well,” Moore exclaims.
And for a healthy alternative to any meal, Moore highly recommends the eatery’s Steak Salad, which features morsels of ribeye steak atop fresh greens splashed with a ginger lime dressing.
After an A-list meal like this, Moore is more than ready to rock on! And you can be sure that when this celebrity takes center stage jaws will drop and Little Richard fans will be in awe. Moore began his tribute to Little Richard in 1990 when he performed on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. This was then followed by performances throughout the Islands, which led to future international gigs.
“I’ve been impersonating Little Richard for more than 20 years and it’s always fun to be a part of Legends in Concert in Waikiki.
“I had to study Little Richard’s character, and it took me about three years to perfect it,” Moore explains. “It’s very important to capture his (Little Richard) sound. You have to hear it. It’s the sound and the music that will capture audiences and give you chicken skin. I’ve even had the honor of performing with Little Richard himself.”
Legends in Concert Waikiki is a family-friendly, live musical celebration and concert. The show runs Tuesdays through Sundays at 8:15 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Theater, and transports guests to magical times when classic super-stars ruled the airwaves. Ticket prices start at $40.50 (kamaaina rate).
“I auditioned for Legends in 1991 in Atlantic City, and when they opened the show in 1993 in Hawaii, they hired me and I came back home.”
Nowadays, Moore continues to share his talents and passion for Little Richard with people across the globe. In fact, after his performances in Legends in Concert Waikiki, Moore will be heading to Finland and Sweden, where he will perform on a cruise ship.
“Surprisingly, I’ve had no formal musical training. I’m just a professional shower singer,” Moore says with a laugh.
For more information on Legends in Concert Waikiki, visit legendswaikiki.com or call 629-SHOW (7469).
Panya Bakery, Bistro and Bar
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 2054
Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.