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Foodie Fare
Foodie Fare

New Look, Dishes On the Way for Violet’s Grill

By Christina O Connor Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
March 17, 2013

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Walking into Violet’s Grill in Kapalama Shopping Center feels a lot like you’re walking into someone’s home. And there is a good reason for that — the restaurant has long been owned by the family of current co-owners, Joey Suehisa and her sister Cindy. The cozy dining room offers a relaxing atmosphere to kick back with some of the Suehisas’ home-cooked treats.

The restaurant serves up local favorites with a strong influence of Japanese and Okinawan cuisine.

“The Japanese and Okinawan foods are really popular with our customers,” Joey says.

For a taste of these flavors, she recommends Pig Feet Soup ($14.95), which is flavored with mustard cabbage and daikon.

And one dish that has garnered rave reviews is Nakami Chanpuru ($13.95), a pork stir-fry that features a combination of mustard cabbage, carrots, ginger and garlic.

The fish dishes at Violet’s Grill also are among the most popular. Customers can’t go wrong with the Furikake Salmon ($16.95), which is served with rice and tsukemono. Or try Steamed Opakapaka ($16.95). The dish is bursting with flavor, as it is seasoned with sesame oil, shoyu, ginger, parsley and green onion.

Joey says that the restaurant has a steady following of regular customers. And for these regulars, nothing will keep them away. The entire shopping center has been undergoing renovations for the last couple of months, but many still frequent the eatery for their favorite dishes.

But, along with the exterior renovations, customers also can expect some changes inside Violet’s Grill, too.

“We are trying to fix up our menu,” she says. “We do have several newer items that we will put out.”

On the Side

Violet’s Grill has been a go-to spot for local Japanese favorites for more than 60 years. Joey Suehisa and her sister Cindy took over the restaurant in 1998.

“My aunty was here first, and then my brother took over, and then we bought it from him,” Joey explains. “My aunty needed help, so we decided to come and help her. And after that, we just stayed. We like it here.”

From cooking the food to serving customers, the sisters are busy in all aspects of the kitchen.

“Cindy and I — we do everything,” Joey says.

The two learned to cook from the chefs that were here when their aunt owned the restaurant.

Joey and Cindy also are responsible for creating new dishes at the restaurant. But Joey admits that they have a little help with that, as they draw inspiration and take suggestions from restaurant employees and family members.

“We get ideas from other people that tell us about (dishes),” she says. “When they tell us about something that sounds good, we will try it out.”

Violet’s Grill

Kapalama Shopping Center
1210 Dillingham Blvd. #8, Honolulu
Open daily, 6 a.m.–10 p.m.