The Big Difference

Veg'n Out

February 18, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Guy Fieri would love this place. Big City Diner has everything that makes a diner a diner: eggs, pancakes, French toast, burgers and fries, wings, salads, chili, ribs, happy hour, a late-night menu and lots of local faves.

  • Fire-Roasted Portobello Mushroom Salad ($10.99)
  • Chef Dennis Franks
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But there’s something about this particular diner that elevates it above the norm: owner Lane Muraoka.

“We’re really health-conscious,” he says. “We were one of the first to put brown rice on the menu. If there’s a starch, you can have white or brown.” (He warns that there is a bit of furikake sprinkled on the rice, and that does contain fish, so remember to ask your server to leave it off.)

Of course, Muraoka’s healthy attitude goes beyond rice. In fact, if you don’t eat meat or fish, you can order tofu as a substitute for meat in many dishes, such as the popular Paniolo Chicken Salad (Big $11.99, Not So Big $8.99). Or just ask and they’ll omit the meat, fish, egg or cheese from just about any dish.

If you’re a bit shy to ask, it’s no big deal. There’s plenty on the menu to please vegetarians.

For starters, Our Famous Soybeans Made With Hawaii Spice Sauce ($7.49) is a popular pick. In fact, Muraoka says that there’s one customer who orders it for her dinner along with a glass of wine.

Savor ‘shrooms in a big way? Try a Fire-Roasted Portobello Mushroom Salad: sliced on a bed of organic greens, chopped romaine, diced Roma tomatoes and sweet red onions, topped with BIG croutons, imported Parmesan, red onion rings and fresh lemon. It’s served with ancho chili dressing ($10.99).”It’s an ono thing,” says Muraoka. “I really like it with the ancho chili dressing.”

Another lunch favorite is The Upcountry Veggie Sandwich: California avocado, organic baby greens, carrots, lettuce, tomato, red onion, Jack and Cheddar cheeses topped with roasted corn and fresh salsa on whole wheat toast ($10.99), served with skin-on fries (or add roasted garlic fries for 99 cents; add a small green salad for $1.99).

For vegetarians, there’s definitely a Big difference at this diner.

Big City Diner

  • Where
    • Kaimuki
    • 3565 Waialae Avenue
    • Kailua
    • 108 Hekili Street
    • Ward
    • 1060 Auahi Street
    • Waipio
    • 94-800 Ukee Street
    • Pearlridge
    • 98-211 Pali Momi Street
  • Call
    • (808) 738-8845 (Kaimuki)
    • (808) 263-8880 (Kailua)
    • (808) 591-8891 (Ward)
    • (808) 678-8868 (Waipio)
    • (808) 487-8188 (Pearlridge)
  • Hours
    • 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 7 a.m. – midnight
    • Friday – Saturday
  • Website

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