80-year-old eatery still watching families grow

Lite Bites

August 2, 2015

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: TONY GRILLO PHOTOS

Eggplant Tempura (seven-piece side order, $5.95), Hiyayakko ($3.95), Namasu ($3.95) and Yakitori Chicken (two sticks, $3.95)

Eggplant Tempura (seven-piece side order, $5.95), Hiyayakko ($3.95), Namasu ($3.95) and Yakitori Chicken (two sticks, $3.95)

It sure has been a hot summer so far. So, if you’re looking for a light and refreshing meal, Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen offers a variety of options to help cool you down.

General manager Lynn Ky recommends chilled Hiyashi Somen ($9.45) and cold Zaru Soba ($9.45). “Both are cold dishes, and very popular,” she says. “They’re original menu items from when we first opened. They’re simple dishes and come with a special sauce we make ourselves.”

Complete your meal with some light sides, such as Hiyayakko ($3.95), chilled tofu served with ginger and bonito flakes, and homemade Namasu ($3.95), which is pickled vegetables.

Or, try Sekiya’s signature Eggplant Tempura ($5.95, seven-piece side order) and Yakitori Chicken ($3.95, two sticks).

As for dessert, longtime customers will be happy to know that the restaurant has brought back its Haupia ($3.95), which is made from fresh coconut.

“We haven’t been selling it for many years, but customers remember it and are always requesting it,” says Ky. “So, we brought it back for a limited time to please the customers. It’s very popular because we use fresh coconut, so it’s a very long process to make (it). You have to grind the coconut, make the juice and cook it, and it takes forever. But it tastes so good.”

In October, Sekiya’s will celebrate its 80th anniversary, and Ky says the restaurant plans to offer a variety of discounts and specials during that time to thank its many loyal customers. Originally called School Delicatessen and located on School Street, the restaurant was founded in 1935 by Taisuke and Katsuko Sekiya. The local eatery eventually moved to Kapahulu Avenue in 1947 and then to its current location on Kaimuki Avenue (across from Kaimuki High School) in 1955.

Known for its mix of traditional and local-style Japanese food, as well as some classic American dishes, Sekiya’s continues to be family owned and operated with members of its third generation at the helm, including president Dean Hara and vice president David Morihara.

Last year, the restaurant underwent major renovations, such as new flooring, improvements to its outdoor fishpond and new kitchen equipment, including a brand new stove, deep fryer and more.

The restaurant’s convenient okazu (Japanese delicatessen foods) and bentos at the front also continue to be a local favorites, especially for morning pick up on the way to work, catering and sports events.

Free parking is available in the adjoining lot, and a 10 percent senior discount is available on Mondays for those 60 years and older.

“We have many old-timers,” adds Ky, who has been working at the restaurant for more than 20 years. “We have customers whose kids have grown up and bring their kids in, and now their grandkids. We’ve watched families grow.”

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