There’s a New B.I.G. in Town

Columns Veg'n Out

February 23, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

“Biggie, Biggie, Biggie can’t you see, sometimes your words just hypnotize me…” the catchy chorus from the Notorious B.I.G. song wafts across the radio as I enter the doors of Big City Diner in Pearlridge East. But at this “Big” eatery, it’s not the words but the food that places patrons in a tastebud-teasing trance.

Since its opening in 1998, Big City Diner has been bringing neighbors together all across Oahu. Now, with five locations island-wide, this local restaurant is the perfect place for friends, family and businesspeople alike to meet and eat. Boasting a wide variety of menu items to choose from, diners will find it difficult to decide between big burgers (yes, they even have the garden kind), healthy salads, local plates and more. Big City even offers a special kids menu with traditional fun foods, such as grilled cheese sandwich and a mini version of its iconic loco moco for keiki to enjoy.

By the time I arrived for lunch, I had already had a full day, jam-packed with a lot of work and only a little food for fuel. With a vacant, rumbling tummy and the clock ticking towards noontime, I settled into a corner booth at Big City, ready to learn more about the local establishment and calm this hunger.

Mercifully, the food came fast, beginning with BCD Thai Salad ($12.99) — a generously portioned salad (enough for a meal in itself) of Romaine lettuce, green onions, red onions, Roma tomatoes, chopped peanuts, crisp bean sprouts, crispy wonton strips and ample cubes of protein-rich tofu (non-vegetarians can even opt to have lean steak or chicken in place of the soy).

Next on the menu was Grilled Portabello Mushroom Sandwich ($10.99) — a hearty vegetable-based version of Big City Diner’s classic burger, this sandwhich is every bit as filling and appetizing as the original. Starting with a toasted whole wheat bun, a gigantic (and juicy) Portobello mushroom cap is set before being topped with caramelized onion, melted jack cheese and fire-roasted bell pepper for that extra kick of spice. Served alongside are Big City Diner’s signature skin-on fries. For the more adventurous or health-conscious types, roasted garlic fries or a small tossed salad may be substituted as the side for an additional 99 cents.

“We’ve noticed that people are becoming more and more aware of their health and wanting extra options for healthy choices,” explains Dennis Franks, corporate executive chef of Big City Diner. “We try hard to stay mindful of that fact, and are continuously reevaluating the menu to keep up with the trends and demands of certain diets of the day, including gluten-free and vegetarian.”

After sampling the delicious dishes from this diner, I have to admit that there is a new “Big” that has me dancing to its beat. And as I leave Big City Diner, satisfied and happy, I’m already thinking about what I want to order next time I visit. *And that’s a wrap….

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Big City Diner

Ward Entertainment Center
1060 Auahi St #4
Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m.-midnight
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.
Late-night happy hour: Sunday-Thursday, 9 p.m.-close Friday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-close

98-211 Pali Momi St. #900
Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, 7 a.m.-midnight
Sunday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Pearlridge Center, Aiea, HI 96701

Ward Farmers Market, Honolulu, HI 96814

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