There’s a Bit of California and Everything Else at YogurstoryColumns Foodie Fare
August 19, 2012
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Leah Friel
When Yogurstory hit the Honolulu dining scene in 2010, customers were immediately drawn to it ― and the restaurant created quite a buzz. In both its creative food that utilizes a variety of influences, and its classy and comfortable atmosphere, Yogurstory offered something truly different.
Although it first began as primarily a place for brunch and yogurt, there’s a lot more to Yogurstory these days. In fact, Yogurstory has got a little bit of everything ― breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks.
Executive chef Andy Dalan describes Yogurstory’s cuisine as “local style, with a little bit of California.”
Some of the most popular dishes include Prime Rib Loco Moco ($14.95) and Hurricane Rice Bowl ($13.95), which Dalan says is a twist on the popular Korean dish bibambap. It features kimchee and bacon fried rice, fresh vegetables, prime rib and a poached egg.
Also try Ahi Dragon Style ($17.95), with avocado crab crust, a spicy sriracha sauce, tomato salad and furikake rice. Other tasty items include appetizers Ninja Nachos ($9.95), which has spicy grilled chicken, cabbage, edamame, green onion, sweet potato and jalapeno, with a sriracha salsa on the side, and Spiked Cold Tofu ($7.95), which features fresh tofu with sea salad, green onion and tomato ― all drizzled with a jalapeno yuzu soy sauce.
For many customers, Yogurstory’s selection of waffles ― all of which were created by Dalan ― is reason enough to visit the restaurant. “The waffles have just been a hit,” Dalan says, adding that they are great for either breakfast or dessert. “At night, we have people who come just for the waffles,” he says. The Red Carpet ($9.95) waffles continue to be one of the most popular. But don’t miss out on Dolce De Leche ($9.95), a decadent joy that features pecan pretzel crunch, caramel, dolce sauce, caramelized banana and whipped cream.
Not only has Yogurstory expanded its menu, but it also offers special events on the weekend. Every first Saturday, the restaurant transforms into a lounge at night, complete with a DJ, dancing and drink specials. Friday nights during dinner, the restaurant plays host to live entertainment. In the future, Yogurstory hopes to expand its entertainment ventures.
Yogurstory also features special dishes on Friday and Saturday for dinner. “Right now, one of the dishes we are doing is chow fun, but our twist is to add other, different ingredients.” Recently, the restaurant created Bacon and Choi Sum Chow Fun ($8.95).
“We kind of changed it up,” Dalan says of the dish. “Locals are familiar with that noodle, but they don’t usually have it with these ingredients.”
Changing things up seems to be the status quo for Dalan and Yogurstory. And luckily for customers, Dalan can’t seem to keep his creative energy still. He says that Yogurstory will continue to offer different specials and introduce new menu items. Although there are no set plans, Dalan hinted that they may come out with a dessert menu ― which could also include different types of waffles ― in the near future. “We want to keep the customers excited and keep them coming,” he says.
On the Side
Yogurstory has been around just less than two years, and in that short time, it has already managed to reinvent itself. What began as a small venture has expanded into a full-service, multi-purpose restaurant. “We started off a frozen yogurt cafe/brunch place,” executive chef Andy Dalan explains. “And it totally transformed into a breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night and pupu bar restaurant.”
“Because of our location and our atmosphere, we didn’t want to just do brunch,” he says. “We wanted to expand.
“When we opened, our concept was trying to make it like an L.A. type of cafe,” he says. Before opening, Dalan took a trip to L.A. with the restaurant’s founder to check out restaurants and breakfast cafes.
“It was just eating for two days,” he says of the trip. “We would go to about five restaurants in one day, and just check out the trends.” The group came back to the Islands with a range of unique flavors and inspiration to launch Yogurstory.
The elegant, yet welcoming atmosphere at Yogurstory also boasts an L.A. chic, with high ceilings, stunning lighting, and wall art and decor scattered across the dining room.
“We wanted to be different, and offer what Hawaii didn’t have,” he says. At the same time, Dalan, who was born and raised here in Hawaii, derives a lot of his culinary inspiration from island foods. “Local and Asian food — that’s what I cook,” he says. “I also keep up with various other trends. Korean cuisine is a trend right now.” Dalan adds that Keeaumoku, often dubbed “Koreamoku,” is the perfect place to cook up Korean-influenced dishes. He also experiments with Filipino, Japanese and Chinese flavors.
Dalan has 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including working as a pastry chef at Roy’s Restaurant and a stint at Formaggio. Dalan draws on his experience as a pastry chef to create some of Yogurstory’s sweeter items including the ever-popular waffles.
815 Keeaumoku St. #105, Honolulu
Brunch, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dinner and Pupus, Sunday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-midnight
Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.