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Inside Feature

Food, Fun for All

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
September 29, 2013

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While its signature cuisine includes unforgettable ribs, steaks and seafood dishes, Tony Roma’s serves up a side order of fun that truly sets the dining experience apart from the average meal.

For more than three decades, Tony Roma’s has served multiple generations of Hawaii’s families in its comfortable, casual dining atmosphere. The restaurant resides in Aiea’s Westridge Shopping Center, as well as at the entrance to Waikiki, and also features an array of sandwiches, burgers and pastas to satisfy all tastes.

In an effort to cater to Hawaii’s hard-working families, Tony Roma’s features a diverse and affordable kid’s menu with favorites such as Chicken Tenders ($6.99), Mac & Cheese ($6.99), Pizza ($6.99), Spaghetti ($6.99) and St. Louis Ribs ($8.99). Each keiki selection includes a kid’s soft drink, a choice of rice, French fries, broccoli or green beans and two soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. Orange, pineapple or cranberry juice may be added for $1.25, and milk for $2.25.

“We encourage the kids to try the St. Louis Ribs or Baby Back Ribs ($9.99), so they can see what they enjoy most,” says Lennon de Leon, general manager of the Aiea location. “Then, we hope that they will bring their own kids back in the future to also enjoy our food.”

Diners will also be pleased to learn that Tony Roma’s features a popular “Kids Eat Free” promotion every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Children, age 10 and under enjoy a complimentary meal from the kid’s menu with an accompanying adult’s entrée purchase. One child may enjoy a free meal per each paying adult.

To sweeten the deal, the Aiea location also offers free entertainment from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on all three nights for kids and kids-at-heart alike. Glen Bailey performs his engaging brand of magic Tuesday nights, and enjoys seeing customers he performed for decades ago bring their children to experience the fun. Wednesday nights belong to the show-stopping magic tricks presented by Alan Arita, who also explains some of his “tricky business” to those patrons interested in learning about his passion. Professional balloon artist Suzette Arita steals the show Thursday nights with her amazing balloon figures resembling mermaids, Super Mario and everything in between.

“I like to see the looks on the children’s faces when they get their balloons. They’re always so happy,” says Suzette. “Come down and visit me!”

With Halloween falling on a Thursday this year, Suzette will feature special “stuffed” balloons and goodie bags to mark the occasion.

“The reason they brought our magic in was to add to the meal experience and great service,” said Bailey, who has been performing at Tony Roma’s for more than 14 years. “We complement the meal by doing magic after diners have ordered and before they receive their meals, and provide a taste of magic.”

While children always get a kick out of the multi-talented performers, adults also enjoy the experience — especially when their child’s face lights up with excitement and laughter. And, because the magicians are hosted by Tony Roma’s, there is no obligation or added cost passed on to customers.

“I perform different tricks than Glen. I do some edgier ‘street magic’ like fork and spoon bending,” says Alan Arita, who formerly worked as a Honolulu Police Department officer. “I also can, if the children are of age, teach kids a simple magic trick. Once I put on my hat, it’s showtime!”

Tony Roma’s is also featuring a special deal for Dining Out readers with its “3 Course Menu for 2” for just $39.99. Customers are treated to a starter of either soup or salad, followed by a shared appetizer of onion rings, potato skins or kickin’ shrimp, and each diner may then choose from one of the following entrée selections: Baby Back Ribs & Garlic Shrimp, Baby Back Ribs & Chicken or Baby Back Ribs & Filet Medallion Steaks. Hurry in and try it now, as this special offer is good through Oct. 15.

Tony Roma’s

Waikiki
1972 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
942-2121
Open Daily From 11 A.M. To 11 P.M.

Aiea
98-150 Kaonohi St., Aiea
487-9911
11 A.M. to 10 P.M. (Sunday Through Thursday)
11 A.M. to 11 P.M. (Friday And Saturday)