Where healthy choices are still delicious

A La Carte Columns

January 5, 2016

Story By: Lynsey Beth Futa |

As of Nov. 2, Big City Diner now has six locations. That means six opportunities to enjoy tasty, classic American fare with a local twist.

With the new year upon us, owner Lane Muraoka also emphasizes the restaurant’s clean and healthy options, perfect for those with resolutions for better lifestyles. “People see ‘diner’ in our name and automatically think ‘greasy-spoon’ restaurant,” Muraoka says. But the truth is, Big City has made significant strides to provide healthier food for its customers.

The establishment’s Kailua location is the first on the island to be Blue-Zones designated. There is a detailed criteria for receiving this certification, but the gist is that Blue Zones encourages people to “live longer, better” by helping to manage what they eat. This includes cutting out excess fat and adding more fruits, veggies and needed nutrients into meals.

Big City Diner also is in the process of clearing its newest branch in Windward Mall for Blue-Zones designation, as it recognizes the importance of taking care of the many generations that have made it home over the years.

This is not to say that the restaurant’s classics will be gone; there simply will be a separate Blue Zones menu available for diners to choose from, which offers nutrient-rich items such as Fire-Roasted Portobello Mushroom Salad ($11.99). This refreshing option has organic greens, chopped romaine lettuce, diced Roma tomatoes, red onions and fresh lemon. Large slices of fire-roasted portobello mushrooms are added along with a drizzling of ancho-chile dressing.

Eating healthier doesn’t mean eating salads for the rest of 2016. Try Mamasan’s Vegetable Stir-fry ($8.99), made with a medley of fresh garden veggies — local produce used as much as possible — and tofu available for an extra $2.99 for the most wholesome choice. The vegetables are stir-fried in Big City Diner’s secret sauce, and a scoop of brown rice also makes the plate.

In keeping with making better choices, one should consider starting the day off right with a hearty, nutritional breakfast. The Ultimate Tofu-Veggie Omelette ($13.99) consists of fluffy egg whites wrapped around tofu, fresh mushrooms, local tomatoes, fresh spinach, broccoli and sweet onions. This breakfast of champions is served with Wisconsin jack and cheddar cheeses and brown rice, but can be made even healthier sans cheese.

Although Big City Diner’s other locations aren’t yet Blue-Zones designated, all of its restaurants still have fortified and beneficial offerings to choose from, including the items mentioned above.

“Start the new year off right with healthier resolutions, and let Big City Diner be a part of helping you meet them and in making better life decisions,” Muraoka says.

Big City Diner

Ward Entertainment Center
1060 Auahi St., No. 4
(and five other locations island-wide)
Sunday-Thursday,7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday., 7 a.m.-midnight

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best