Applebee’s is Right at Home in the Islands

Cover Story Features

May 21, 2017

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Kitchen manager Carlos Buhain welcomes kamaaina to give Applebee’s delectable fare a try.

For years, Hawaii residents have watched commercials on television promoting Applebee’s Grill & Bar and were left wondering, “When are we getting an Applebee’s?!”

Local diners can now see why “Celebration is a dish best served with good people,” as Applebee’s has come to Oahu with locations in Ewa Beach and at the vibrant Ka Makana Alii complex in Kapolei. It’s always time to celebrate at the popular grill and bar, and as a special inside scoop for Dining Out readers, Applebee’s will hold its Grand Opening Monday, May 22 (see sidebar for prize giveaways) at its spacious and inviting Kapolei location.

“We tell our customers, ‘See you tomorrow,’ because we focus on building great relationships with guests by serving delicious food and offering excellent service,” says Katy Tanaka, general manager of Applebee’s in Kapolei. “At both our Ewa Beach and Kapolei restaurants, we see regular customers who enjoy dining with us after work or school, following a workout at the gym or special occasions. There’s always a reason to celebrate, and we cater to local families.”

Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs ($22.99, full rack) with Memphis dry rub.

The restaurant offers an expansive dining area with plenty of room for large groups of 50-75 people, and features a full bar as well as 14 big-screen televisions — the perfect recipe for watching the latest and greatest sporting events. Diners also can take advantage of ample free parking before sitting down to enjoy Applebee’s trend-setting menu, which is crafted by an experienced research-and-development team.

“We’re the place in the neighborhood to go when you want to enjoy time with friends and family,” says Vince Espino, the restaurateur who brought Applebee’s to Hawaii and plans to open another location in the near future at Pearlridge. “You can find all sorts of favorites on our menu, from salads to steaks and ribs, as well as fresh-made burgers that are juicy and so tasty.”

Grilled Shrimp Skewer with Lemon Butter Sauce and Cedar Salmon ($21.99, a popular Big and Bold Grill Combo option)

Start your Applebee’s experience with Chicken Wonton Tacos ($10.50), one of the restaurant’s signature appetizers that includes four tangy chicken-stuffed wonton shells coupled with slaw and cilantro. Southwestern Steak Salad ($13.99) is quickly becoming a local favorite via a compilation of hand-cut USDA Choice top sirloin with chimichurri, mixed greens, corn and black bean salsa, along with cheddar and crispy tortilla strips and a house-made cilantro ranch dressing.

Applebee’s also is recognized for its grilled selections, including Double Glazed Baby Back Ribs ($16.99 half rack, $22.99 full rack), which can be prepared with a Memphis dry rub or “sauced” with Spicy Texas Barbecue or Honey Barbecue slatherings. Guests also can delve into Applebee’s new Big and Bold Grill Combos, which include two entree items along with two sides, including unlimited classic fries if one so chooses. One of the popular combos couples a Grilled Shrimp Skewer with Lemon Butter Sauce and Cedar Salmon ($21.99).

Southwestern Steak Salad ($13.99)

Hand-crafted burgers at Applebee’s have also become a huge hit among local diners, including the new Whiskey Bacon Burger ($14.49), which is built with an all-beef patty seared with caramelized onions and bacon and topped with Pepper Jack cheese, crispy onions and, of course, more bacon, along with a Fireball Whiskey-infused steak sauce.

For dessert, try the decadent Butter Pecan Blondie ($8.99), a gigantic “blondie” brownie baked with nuts and served with ice cream, glazed pecans and maple-flavored cream cheese sauce.

Whiskey Bacon Burger ($14.49)

“Guests love our food and ambiance — they’ve been waiting for us!” Espino says.

Grand Opening Specials Abound

As part of the Grand Opening festivities tomorrow (Monday, May 22) at the Kapolei Applebee’s location, everyone’s a winner as guests (both dine-in and takeout) will receive a $2 gas coupon when doors open at 11 a.m. A DJ from 94.7 KUMU will be on hand from 2 to 3 p.m. to give out additional prizes and entertain patrons. Guests also can enter to win one of 12 gas cards worth $25 each or two $100 gas cards courtesy of Aloha Petroleum, or the grand prize: a five-night trip for two to Las Vegas courtesy of Vacations Hawaii.

Chicken Wonton Tacos ($10.50)

Happy Hour Aplenty at Applebee’s

Patrons at Applebee’s can look forward to daily happy hour specials available from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to closing, including select half-priced appetizers, $1 off beer and wine as well as specially priced cocktails. Applebee’s also features an all-day happy hour, and customers can take advantage of that from open to close at the bar, or in the bar’s comfortable lounge area.

Butter Pecan Blondie ($8.99)


Ka Makana Alii
91-5431 Kapolei Pkwy., Kapolei
(also located in Ewa Beach)
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Kapolei, HI 96707

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