Having a Day with Hot Dogs

Columns Ono, You Know

June 23, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

To be frank, this week I’m talking wieners, as in anything and everything hot dogs! Things are definitely heating up this summer as everyone’s favorite “dog” in a bun takes front and center. Regarded as one of America’s signature foods, the basic hot dog concept began in 1874 when Charles Feltman, a Brooklyn resident, began serving beef sausages in a way that was never before conceptualized: in the form of sandwiches! Add to that ketchup, mustard, onions, relish, what have you, and it’s comfort food at its purest.

However, nowadays many food establishments are teaching old dogs new tricks and churning up revolutionary masterpieces featuring none other than America’s top dogs. Imagine a fusion of flavors such as kim chee, sushi rice, chili and more all encompassing a simple hot dog. My, how times have changed!

So, this week on my quest for some delectable dogs, I dropped in on some of the best Ono, You Know establishments that are pushing the humble hot dog to even greater heights.

Genki Sushi

Ready to soak in hot dog glory sushi style, my appetite and I headed straight to Genki Sushi to take on the restaurant’s famous Hot Dog Roll. As Hawaii’s premier kaiten-style sushi establishment, and with 14 locations in the Islands — nine on Oahu, two on Maui, one on Kauai and one on the Big Island — this first-class sushi joint caters to all of your sushi cravings.

At first glance you may wonder just how a Redondo’s hot dog fares with sushi. Well, let me tell you, it’s definitely a hot item!

“It’s been on our menu since the beginning. Ever since we opened Genki Sushi, Hot Dog Roll has been popular with everyone, especially the kids,” says director of purchasing, David Moon.

Priced at $2.20, you can’t go wrong with this unique sushi creation. Referred to as an inside-out-roll, Hot Dog Roll consists of flavorful pieces of hot dog combined with chunks of scrambled egg nestled within sushi rice, nori and sprinkles of furikake.

This Genki favorite, served in four bite-sized pieces, is a great option for those on the go and in need of a convenient, no-nonsense meal. It’s a local take on an American classic. You gotta love the dog!

Genki Sushi
Ward Warehouse
1200 Ala Moana Blvd. # 408 (and various locations)
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Opulicious Restaurant

Hungry for some ono local grinds? Well, twist on over to Opulicious Restaurant on Coolidge Street for a oneof-a-kind dining experience complete with mouth-watering local favorites just like mom used to make, and impressive balloon creations that never cease to wow new and loyal patrons.

“Opulicious is the first balloon-themed restaurant in the nation,” says owner and chef Kelli Kay Chun, who also is a skilled balloon artist at that. “The kids really take to the balloon animals.”

And while the array of adorable balloon animals is quite astounding, with hot dog on the brain, I couldn’t think of anything finer than Opulicious’ famed KC Waffle Dog ($3.50), which features a scrumptious hot dog bundled inside a special waffle batter, which Chun explains is made from a secret recipe. The dish is served a la carte and is accompanied by a zesty relish for dipping. Add cheese to your KC Waffle Dog for an additional 50 cents. According to Chun, this longtime local delight is a “blast from the past,” as KC Waffle Dog was the dish of choice during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

And if you can’t get enough of this enticing hot diggity dog favorite, kick it up a notch and go for KC Chili Waffle Hot Dog ($7.25), a special on the menu until the end of July.

“This is your traditional KC Waffle Dog, but it’s topped with homemade chili made from a secret recipe and a mound of cheese,” Chun explains. “Most of the recipes here are from me and my mother.”

OK, now I really think I’ve found my way to hot dog heaven! Nothing gets better than this! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, everything at Opulicious is always made fresh to order. Planning a summer barbecue on the beach? Opulicious also offers catering services and a plethora of takeout options that are sure to win you points at your next party or gathering.

Opulicious Restaurant
946 Coolidge St.
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Mai Tai Bar

Hello, summer! Really, there’s no better way to kick off a season of fun in the sun than with a visit to the oceanfront Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort located just steps away from iconic Waikiki Beach. Open from 10 a.m. to midnight, Mai Tai Bar boasts locally inspired specialties with an island flair.

And from now until July 4, I’m calling all hot dog enthusiasts to take advantage of Dogs of the World at Mai Tai Bar. This special culinary event features the best in gourmet hot dogs, served from 2 to 4 p.m. daily, so feast away and enjoy a variety of all-American hot dog classics with an international spin. The menu highlights top dogs such as Half Pound Beef Hot Dog on a Brioche Bun ($20) topped with caramelized onions and Cheddar cheese accompanied with a side of sea salt fries, and Portuguese Sausage on a Brioche Bun ($20) topped with Ho Farms tomatoes stewed to perfection in port wine. Sea salt fries complete the dish.

Ecstatic about kim chee, I was immediately drawn to Kim Chee Sausage on a Brioche Bun ($20), an electrifyingly delicious sausage adorned with kim chee and a Koochujang vinaigrette. Believe me, this top pick will awaken your taste buds for sure!

Lastly, the most unique dog on the menu would have to be Patele Sausage on a Brioche Bun ($20). Exuding a Puerto Rican flair, this hot dog only gets better as it’s complemented by pickled Maui Onions and chilies.

And to tame these delicious dogs, grab one of Mai Tai’s hand-crafted cocktails made with fresh, local fruits and juices to quench your thirst.

Mai Tai Bar
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
2259 Kalakaua Ave.
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Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best