Healthy Dining Made Easy, Delicious

Cover Story

January 14, 2018

Story By: Caroline Wright |

(From left) Kahala store manager Manoah Apeles, corporate chef Jose Arias, Ala Moana store manager Chris Orr, and Kailua store manager Keanu Bloom gather at the Kailua location to showcase a plethora of nourishing grinds.
Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo

The story of GRYLT begins with a hungry surfer.

As corporate chef Jose Arias explains it, his boss, owner Allen Farinas, was an enthusiastic waterman with a big appetite for healthy food. “After Allen would go surfing, he’d say, ‘Where can I get something satisfying and nutritious?'” says Arias. “It was hard for him to find anything but a lot of rice and fried items — traditional local plate lunch.”

Arias produces a photo of Farinas and his dog, Momo, both grinning happily on a surfboard. “Here in Hawaii, you want to be active,” Arias says. “If you don’t put the right fuel into your body, you won’t get the right energy out of it. We’re trying to make people aware that they can have delicious meals and still be satisfied without the underlying problems that come with fast food.”

GRYLT is known for making fresh, seasonal soups. Photo courtesy GRYLT

Chris Orr, store manager of GRYLT’s Ala Moana location, emerges from the kitchen with a huge platter upon which rests a gorgeous slab of Line-Caught Local Ahi, so fresh it practically quivers. It’s a popular ingredient in GRYLT’s plates, bowls and wraps. “This ahi is line-caught, which means it’s sustainable,” says Arias. “There’s no trawling, so it doesn’t disturb the ocean floor.”

With GRYLT, Farinas, Arias and their crew aim to deliver delicious, healthful meals made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, from suppliers like Sugarland Farms, Aloun Farms, and Kunia Country Farms. And transparency is a serious buzzword here.

Fresh Angus Cheeseburger ($11.50) T. Grillo photo

“All our locations have open kitchens,” says Arias. “You get to see your meals from raw ingredients to being cooked perfectly to being plated, and you see every step.”

“The fact that we cook right in front of the guests gives them a reassurance that everything is fresh and clean for them,” Orr agrees.

At every GRYLT location, the Soup Of The Day (lunch: $2 per cup, $3 per bowl; dinner: $3 per cup, $4 per bowl) is made with the freshest seasonal ingredients available, all strictly from scratch. “That’s something I really think sets us apart,” says Arias. “And our soups are thickened with cornstarch, and we use coconut milk instead of cream, so they’re glutenand dairy-free.”

GRYLT’s version of a local favorite, Angus “Hawaiian Style” Loco Moco ($11.50), includes succulent slices of Angus beef and gravy over two scoops of rice, and is topped with a pair of eggs, sunny-side up. The Angus Cheeseburger ($11.50) is accompanied by a salad of baby arugula, red cabbage, carrots, tomato, and a house-made honey-lime dressing that nicely balances the richness of the burger. It’s topped with Tillamook sharp cheddar, local tomatoes, red onion, and GRYLT’s own roasted garlic aioli. The bun, baked with a dusting of salt, pepper, and sesame seeds, is as good as the burger itself.

Angus “Hawaiian Style” Loco Moco ($11.50) T. Grillo photo

“We hand-form our own patties; there’s no fillers,” says Arias. “The meat is so good that we don’t need to add anything. If you source good ingredients and cook them with good technique, that’s all you really need to make them shine!”

Got meal prep?

If you’re looking for a fantastic meal-prep service, and you live or work near one of GRYLT’s three locations (Ala Moana, Kailua, and Kahala Mall), check out BUILTBYGRYLT.COM. Order 5-21 meals per week made with fresh, local vegetables and hormone- and steroid-free proteins. Or order a la carte favorites like smashed cauliflower, grilled steak, and sweet potatoes by the pound.

Freshly prepared soup with cauliflower Photo courtesy GRYLT

Meet GRYLT’s store managers and their favorite soup creations!

• Oahu native Manoah Apeles (Kahala Mall), plays violin, ukulele, and piano, and loves to dance! Favorite soup: Roasted Tomato Parmesan

• A Kailua girl who loves her friends and family, Keanu Bloom is delighted to introduce GRYLT’s fresh cuisine in her hometown. Favorite soup: Cauliflower Curry

• Born in Hawaii, raised in California, Chris Orr (Ala Moana) found his way back to the Islands 20 years after leaving them. Favorite soups: Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken

Kailua, HI 96734

Honolulu, HI 96814

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best