Offering all you can imagine in an all-you-can-eat buffetColumns Lite Bites
June 21, 2015
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Since opening in 2005, Makino Chaya in Aiea continues to be a local favorite for its all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring an endless selection of tasty Japanese and American foods, seafood and local dishes.
Among the most popular items are, of course, steamed Snow Crab (available during dinner and weekend lunch), Shrimp Tempura and Miso Butterfish. There also is a Sushi Bar, Salad Bar, Dessert Bar (including cakes from JJ Bistro & French Pastry and frozen yogurt), a la carte menu and Teppanyaki Station where you can have your steak cooked to order.
Recently, the restaurant started offering Budweiser on tap ($3.99 for an 18-ounce glass, $2.99 during happy hour), serving it at a refreshing 31 degrees.
The spacious restaurant, conveniently located at Westridge Shopping Center with plenty of free parking, also is popular for special occasions, such as the current graduation season. For many, it also has become a much anticipated birthday tradition, as those 65 years and older receive a free meal on their birthday (with ID, and party of two or more), and those under 65 get a 50-percent discount.
While Makino Chaya’s buffet prices are already very reasonable ($13.98 for lunch Monday to Friday, $19.98 for lunch Saturday and Sunday, $28.98 for dinner Monday to Thursday, $31.98 for dinner Friday to Sunday), there also is a happy hour buffet special priced at $19.98 (excludes a la carte menu) from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Monday to Friday (coupons and discounts not valid during happy hour). Prices may vary on holidays.
“It’s always busy, so we’re bringing in the volume, and if we buy a lot of product, we can get it at a discounted price,” explains manager Jo Makino of the low prices. “We’re just thankful for our customers.”
Originally from California, Makino moved to Hawaii 11 years ago to open multiple Makino Chaya eateries, including in Mililani, Aloha Tower and on King Street. Currently, there’s only the Aiea location.
The restaurant is still locally family-owned and operated, and, in addition to its good food and value, it takes great pride in its friendly staff.
The company often has coupons (available on its website makinochayahawaii.com and in Dining Out, see page 5), and offers a senior and military (active and retired only) discount of 5 percent off lunch and 10 percent off dinner daily.
Westridge Shopping Center
98-150 Kaonohi St., Aiea
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30-9 p.m. (Hours vary on holidays)