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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much 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 top-notch dining experience.
This week, Dining Out gets the inside scoops from Wolfgang’s Steakhouse general manager Bill Nickerson, who gives us a little taste of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and shares just what fuels his culinary drive.
NAME Bill Nickerson
TITLE General Manager of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
TRAINING/EDUCATION University of Maryland; Restaurant experience was on-the-job training, working in restaurants from high school on — everything from dishwashing all the way to becoming general manager.
YEARS AT RESTAURANT Since opening in 2009
Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner? I had a mentor once when i was an assistant manager, and his philosophy was to throw the best party in town every night.
I’ve adopted that philosophy and want Wolfgang’s Steak-house to be a celebration of food and people each and every day.
What’s your most popular dish? For the quintessential Wolfgang’s experience, I recommend starting off with our Wolfgang’s Salad, made with fresh crisp greens, shrimp, and chunks of our sizzling bacon; followed by our signature USDA Prime Porterhouse Steak, dry-aged in-house and cooked to perfection; creamed spinach and mashed potatoes or Wolfgang’s German potatoes; and, of course, a slice of Junior’s Cheesecake, flown in weekly from New York.
Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request? Our appetizer menu lists Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail ($22.95 per person), Jumbo Lump Crab-meat Cocktail ($24.95 per person), and Lobster Cocktail ($25.95 per person), but you also can order a Seafood Combo Platter with all three for $29.95 per person. Also, our publicist, Mona Wood-Sword, likes to order what she calls the “Mona Special,” which is a Caesar salad ($12.95) with a sliced seared ahi fillet on top. Our executive chef James Donohue and his staff can be pretty flexible with special requests.
What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received as a chef/manager/owner? The fact that a lot of our regular local patrons have followed me as I’ve worked at different restaurants over the years is such an honor — they’ve become like family. It’s humbling and also something I work hard to maintain — that connection is so vital for a successful business — and successful relationships, period. Wolfgang’s is the best steakhouse as far as I’m concerned. The food and service are unmatched, and I need to make sure we maintain the highest standards in the kitchen, as well as with our customer relations.
If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve? Robert Griffin, III. I’m a huge fan and really hope he makes it here for next year’s Pro Bowl because Wolfgang’s will again be the official home of the Pro Bowl trophy and host of the VIP party on the night of the block party. I’d serve him a huge ribeye steak along with some of our local dishes, such as our Angus Burger Loco Moco and Kalbi Sliders — lots of protein!
Royal Hawaiian Center, Building C, Level 3
2301 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.