Saluting Our Heroes With Delicious Meals

Columns Ono, You Know

May 7, 2017

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The editor showcases the military special available at Pagoda Floating Restaurant.

With Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day both honored in May, there’s no time like the present to acknowledge and thank the selfless servicemen and women of our country for all they bravely do to protect our invaluable freedom.

I know it might seem like the military and eating out on the town are two unrelated topics, but as it turns out, they have a very tasty connection.

Just ask the staffers at any of your favorite neighborhood haunts, and they’re likely to tell you about some sort of military discount they offer in support of the highly regarded service members stationed here in Hawaii.

This week, Ono, You Know spent time seeking out special deals available to all of the military foodies out there — a search that resulted in a slew of delectable discounts. And even if you’re not in the military, there are still numerous American classics in this story that anyone can enjoy:


When John Teruya of Pagoda Floating Restaurant was growing up, his mother worked at a local diner and would insist on treating the members of the military who came in for a meal. With that strong sense of appreciation instilled in him from a young age, he now makes an effort to carry on that tradition in his current role as general manager of the Rycroft Street eatery.

Pagoda’s special for May and June: complimentary prime rib and king crab legs when you show your military ID

One way he does this is by offering a 10 percent discount to any service member who shows their military ID.

“It’s more than just a discount,” says Teruya. “We want to honor and thank our military for all of their services.”

Recently, Teruya wanted to take this sentiment a step further, so he came up with an additional special that will be available during May and June. Those who show their military ID with their purchase will receive a complimentary platter of Roast Prime Rib and Southern King Crab Legs. With over 15 ounces of prime rib and crab legs combined, this offering surely will satisfy even the heftiest of appetites.

Discounts aside, any customer who dines at Pagoda can devour the plethora of localand Asian-inspired food that executive chef Michael Arita piles onto the buffet line and a la carte menu throughout the day. And one thing I love about Pagoda’s diverse range of cuisines — especially on its themed lunch buffets — is that it’s wonderfully reflective of America’s cultural diversity.

Pagoda Floating Restaurant

1525 Rycroft St., Honolulu

Honolulu, HI 96814


I’m sure all this patriotic talk has left you in the mood for some quintessentially American fare — like, say, a big, juicy burger with fries and a creamy milkshake? Well, if you want to know where to find these essentials and more, I’ll happily direct you to Big City Diner.

Speaking of that burger, you really must try the Mac & Cheese Burger ($15.99), which gives a whole new meaning to the term cheeseburger. This fabulous beast of a bite features an extra dose of comfort in the form of macaroni and cheese — oozing with melted cheddar and Jack cheeses — and it gets a crave-worthy crowning of honey-cured bacon.

Big City Diner’s Mac & Cheese Burger ($15.99) A. CONSILLIO PHOTO

“It’s like a cheeseburger, but heartier and with more bite,” explains corporate executive chef Dennis Franks.

Franks and owner and president Lane Muraoka are committed to honoring any military personnel who dine at the various Big City Diners around Oahu. As Muraoka puts it, “It’s important for us to offer military discounts to help support the men, women and their families who protect this great country of ours and put their lives at risk so that the rest of us can live in freedom.”

The local dining chain does this by offering “Thank-A-Trooper” Thursdays, when active military with ID receive 15 percent off their dine-in food purchase with a beverage.

In conjunction with “Thank-A-Trooper” Thursday, Big City Diner also is pouring $4 pints of Samuel Adams “Hopscape” beer on the same day this month from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. All patrons are eligible to sip on this fine deal for the U.S. brew, which Muraoka says he chose because Samuel Adams is a company dedicated to supporting the military.

Big City Diner

Six locations across Oahu, including 3565 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best