Here’s the BIG PictureFeatures Inside Feature
June 22, 2014
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Rachel Breit
Serving as Oahu’s “Hawaiian-style diner” for more than 15 years, Big City Diner continues to carry the banner as the go-to destination for fresh, hearty meals served in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
And, while Big City Diner is recognized for its local-style comfort food, the restaurant also makes it a priority to offer healthier options, including a selection of flavorful salads.
The iconic eatery has satisfied multiple generations of diners since 1998, with now five convenient locations: Kailua, Kaimuki, Pearlridge, Waipio and Ward Entertainment Center. With an eclectic array of menu options, Big City Diner features locally influenced cuisine crafted to please patrons of all ages with an upscale twist, but without the inflated prices. President and owner Lane Muraoka explains that Big City Diner’s menu incorporates a multitude of fresh, local products and ingredients, including the freshest vegetables from D’Otani Produce.
“You don’t have to eat ‘health food’ to eat healthy; you just need to watch what you eat and how much you eat,” Muraoka explains. “Of course, our kimchee fried rice, burgers and loco moco are very popular, but we have always offered healthier options because that’s how I was raised — watching cholesterol levels and staying away from saturated and trans fats. When we opened the restaurant, we always wanted to have an availability of healthy options for multiple generations of families.”
Muraoka and his culinary team constantly update the menu with customer favorites, including Fire-Roasted Porto-bello Mushroom Salad ($10.99). The vegetarian option features large pieces of marinated, flame-broiled mushrooms atop a bed of organic greens, chopped romaine lettuce, diced Roma tomatoes and sweet red onions. The salad is then topped with BIG croutons, imported Parmesan cheese, red onion rings and fresh lemon, along with a zesty ancho-chile dressing made fresh in house. Loyal diners also return for Paniolo Chicken Salad ($11.99, $8.99 for a not-so-big portion), the restaurant’s most popular salad with a spicy mix of lime-marinated chicken, sweet roasted corn, chopped Roma tomatoes, diced red onions, Wisconsin Cheddar and Jack cheese, tri-colored chips and cilantro over mixed greens.
Big City Diner recently introduced The Big City Cobb ($12.99), a “not-so-traditional Cobb” with hickory-smoked turkey, diced ham, chopped tomato, red onion, black olives, roasted corn, California avocado and Jack and Cheddar cheeses atop chopped romaine. The protein-packed Up-country BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad ($11.99) also beckons with grilled barbecue chicken breast, which sits atop chopped romaine, roasted corn and crispy sweet onions garnished with creamy California avocado and doused with a house-made guava mango rancher’s barbecue ranch dressing that lassos all the flavors together.
To wrap up a satisfying meal, diners are invited to delve into Big Brownie Pie ($7.99). The delectable dessert includes a mountain of Bubbies Vanilla Bean ice cream atop a BIG brownie smothered in chocolate, whipped cream and macadamia nuts.
Through July, Big City Diner is serving up a “Free Gas Giveaway,” in which eight weekly winners at each location are awarded $25 in free Aloha Gas; each entrant also receives a coupon for 10 cents off every gallon of Aloha Gas purchased now through Aug. 31. In conjunction with the Aloha Gas customer appreciation promotion, diners also save big, as bottles of Redd’s Apple Ale and Miller Fortune cost $4 apiece.
The restaurant offers its popular late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to closing Sunday through Thursday, and 10 p.m. to closing Friday and Saturday. Diners receive 50 percent off pupus with a one beverage minimum per table, in addition to $3 Heineken and Heineken Light bottles (soon-to-be $3 Blue Moon pints on draft) and $5 Pinnacle Vodka “Whip Its” (regularly priced at $8), including Orange Creamsicle and Black Cherry flavors. The restaurants also offer “Pau Hana” happy hour Monday through Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m., which includes 50 percent off pupus with a two beverage minimum per table, along with multiple drink specials.
Big City Diner offers full-service catering, and is poised to assist customers with fundraising events and private parties via set and customizable menus — an ideal solution for graduation parties and tailgate events. Customers are encouraged to log on to BigCityDinerHawaii.com or call 487-8588 for more details.
Big City Diner
Ward Entertainment Center
1060 Auahi St., Honolulu
(and four additional locations islandwide)
Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-midnight
Note: The Ward Entertainment Center location now offers an additional level of parking in the covered lot located mauka of the restaurant. The level previously was reserved for valet parking, but is now open to the public.