This ‘Ruby’ Sparkles with All-American FlavorsCover Story
October 9, 2017
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Diners at any of Ruby Tuesday’s five Hawaii locations might be surprised to learn the restaurant has its origins in a local friendship that began in 1971.
That’s the year business partners Rick Nakashima and Ted Davenport first met as middle schoolers, playing flag football for the Chargers at Koko Head Elementary Park. From Niu Valley Intermediate to Kaiser High School to the University of Hawaii, they remained friends, later working side-by-side at the Hyatt Regency and even running a short-lived limo service together.
“There’s been a lot of connection between us,” says Nakashima, chuckling. “We’ve always been in the same circles.”
In 2001, Davenport visited a Ruby Tuesday while on vacation in Louisiana. Hereturned to Hawaii with a vision, which he enthusiastically shared with Nakashima, for bringing the restaurant to the Aloha State. “He said the staff was excellent, very well-trained, and (it was) a really nice place for American casual dining with a lot of good variety,” recalls Nakashima. “And he really loved the ribs!”
It was the beginning of a partnership that now includes five Ruby Tuesday locations statewide on Oahu and Maui. And those tender, succulent ribs — Classic Barbecue, Texas Dusted, Cajun Honey, or island-made Mango Kiawe flavors — are a huge hit with diners here in Hawaii.
They’re featured in Ruby Tuesday’s All You Can Eat Ribs deal, just $24.95, on the first Tuesday of each month. They’re also highlighted in one of this month’s specials, Ribs and Southern-Style Chicken Tenders ($22.29), a half-rack of ribs accompanied by white-meat chicken tenders and golden fries. (Add the all-you-can-eat Garden Bar for just $6.69.)
In celebration of Discoverer’s Day Oct. 9, Ruby Tuesday is featuring a new Discover Any Pasta! special all month. Guests can try one of four delicious pasta dishes — Crispy Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese ($18.29) , Parmesan Shrimp ($20.79), Chicken & Broccoli ($18.79) or California Primavera ($16.29) — with the added bonus of free soup or all-you can-eat Garden Bar.
Speaking of the Garden Bar ($14.79), it’s a fantastic place to create a gorgeous, complex salad filled with some of your favorite ingredients, including spring mix, fresh greens, crisp vegetables, premium cheeses and toppings, and a variety of dressings. With 45 different ingredients, there’s something here for everyone.
Ruby Tuesday’s catering crew can even bring the garden to your next big party. In addition to an extensive selection of its most popular items, the catering menu offers a scaled-down version of the restaurant’s popular salad bar. “We have little cardboard cutouts for ingredient bowls,” says Nakashima. “It’s a really neat aspect of our catering that no one else does.”
And remember, Hawaii’s practically the only place in the world where you can order breakfast at Ruby Tuesday! It’s served daily from 8 to 11 a.m. This month’s featured breakfast is Hashtag Skillet ($12.99), with homemade corned beef, potatoes, onions and bell peppers, topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, and served with your choice of white rice, hash browns, sliced tomatoes or fresh fruit.
Check it out, next time you visit: All of Ruby Tuesday’s five Hawaii locations feature island photos and memorabilia, much of them unique to the surrounding communities. Depending on the location, you might find old LPs by Gabby Pahinui, Don Ho, or Danny Kaleikini; sports memorabilia from Olympic gold medal decathlete Bryan Clay or UH Rainbow Wahine volleyball champion Sista Palakiko; and military photos shared by officers who happen to be regular customers.
Are you trying to raise funds for a school sports team, trip or other cause? Gift certificates from Ruby Tuesday Hawaii are an excellent way to earn an incredible 40 percent return on fundraising! Simply buy $1,000 worth of Ruby Tuesday gift certificates (100 gift certificates at $10/each) for your fundraiser, and receive a check for $400 from Ruby Tuesday for your cause!