Food That LastsCover Story
September 30, 2018
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
Twenty years after first opening its doors, Big City Diner continues to serve as the go-to “Hawaiian-style diner” destination for fresh, hearty meals served in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
The iconic eatery has made a lasting impression on multiple generations of diners since 1998 and features six convenient locations — Kailua, Kaimuki, Pearlridge, Waipio, Ward Entertainment Center and Windward Mall.
With an eclectic array of menu options, Big City Diner features local-inspired cuisine with an upscale twist, without the inflated prices, crafted to please patrons of all ages.
President and owner Lane Muraoka and his hardworking team make it a priority to update the menu and keep up with the latest trends and preparation techniques.
In fact, the restaurant is rolling out a refreshed menu on Oct. 1, and as a special inside scoop for Dining Out readers, diners can look forward to a trio of combos built with hand-cut, USDA Choice New York Steak.
Steak & Shrimp Combo ($21.99) pairs the New York Steak with two roasted garlic shrimp skewers, while Steak & Salmon Combo ($23.99) is another surf-and-turf array including delicious pan-seared salmon.
For the ultimate in tasty pairings, try Steak & Rib Combo ($26.99), as the grilled New York Steak is served alongside Big City Diner’s baby back ribs with guava barbecue sauce. These “Famous Local Combos” are served with one’s choice of steamed white or brown rice and fresh sauteed vegetables. Guests may swap rice for garlic mashed potatoes for an additional $2.29 and add a cup of soup or a small green salad for $3.49.
“People just love combos, and so do I, so we’ve put together the New York Steak with shrimp, salmon and our popular ribs — the latest evolution of our menu,” says Muraoka. “We make our items in house daily, so you can really taste the freshness and great flavors. Our menu is diverse, and we continue to add new items as our loyal customers appreciate the choices.”
Big City also offers tasty burgers, which feature 100 percent lean ground steak patties, lettuce, local tomato, onion and mayonnaise. The Classic Burger ($11.99) is a go-to choice as diners can add real jack or cheddar cheese “on da house,” and make it a bacon cheese-burger by adding bacon for an additional 99 cents. All burgers come with skin-on fries, and diners can upgrade to roasted-garlic fries (99 cents more) or add a small salad for just $3.49.
Paniolo Chicken Salad ($13.49, $10.49 for “Not So Big” portion) is a great option for those looking for lighter fare, as the hearty salad features a spicy mix of lime marinated chicken, sweet roasted corn, chopped tomatoes, diced red onions, real cheddar and jack cheese, tri-colored chips and cilantro served over mixed greens.
Guests also can bite into Big City’s Malibu Chicken Sandwich ($11.99), which comes with fresh sauteed mushrooms, jack cheese, avocado and a hefty piece of chicken.
In anticipation of upcoming holiday parties and tailgate gatherings, Big City Diner readily is available to assist customers with catering options and platters crafted to please everyone from keiki to kupuna. Customers are encouraged to log on to bigcitydinerhawaii.com or call the catering department at 487-8588 for details.
HAPPY HOUR ‘BIG CITY’ STYLE
Diners can quench their thirst and enjoy excellent pupus with Big City Diner’s “Pau Hana” happy hour available Monday-Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Guests will enjoy 50 percent off pupus with a two beverage minimum per person along with rotating drink specials (as a reminder, discount may not be combined with additional offers and promotions). The restaurants also offer a popular late-night happy hour Sunday-Thursday from 9 p.m. to closing and Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to midnight. Diners receive 50 percent off appetizers with a one beverage minimum per person, in addition to $3 Blue Moon pints on draft and $5 Pinnacle Vodka “Whip Its” (regularly priced at $8) including Orange Creamsicle and Black Cherry flavors.
What’s more, Big City Diner locations stream college and professional football games all season long. In addition to games, guests can catch drink and food specials, and prize giveaways.
When it comes to cooking at home, it’s all about the sauce. To help kick up one’s home cooking and barbecue game, bring home some of Big City Diner’s Famous Guava-BBQ Sauce. Individual bottles are sold for $7 apiece, while buying in bulk ($12 for two and $20 for four) pays off — one can purchase the bottles of sauce at restaurant locations.