Family-Run Business ShinesA La Carte
April 22, 2018
Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
By Jack Danilewicz
Shiro’s Saimin Haven owes its status as the foremost “home-style” restaurant in West Oahu to its employees, according to vice president Bryce Fujimoto.
“We consider our workers family — they make the place work,” he says.
Since 1969, the restaurant, which was founded by Fujimoto’s grandfather Franz Shiro Matsuo, has been serving the community. Matsuo’s own story is one of perseverance. He learned to cook while serving in World War II. There was no direct line to opening a restaurant of his own, however, and he worked a myriad of jobs before he could realize his dream. Twenty-four years would pass between his first job as a fry cook at Seaside Garden to opening Shiro’s.
Today, Shiro’s continues to be family-run. Matsuo’s daughter, Linda Matsuo, is the company’s president, while Fujimoto’s brothers’ Gavin and Josh manage the Ewa Beach location and the Noodle Factory, respectively. Hawaiian, Japanese and Filipino-themed dishes remain Shiro’s area of concentration.
JUST IN TIME FOR GRADUATION
The popularity of Shiro’s Saimin Haven’s cosmopolitan catering menu has multiplied over time. Chef Warlie Aguarin recently added boneless Baked Chicken (in a cream of mushroom gravy) to the mix in time for graduation season. It’s priced as the restaurant’s already popular Mochiko and Garlic chicken, which comes in four different sizes — small ($27.50), medium ($44.50), large ($61.50) and extra large ($87). Shiro’s catering menu is extensive with 22 main dishes (and four sides) now offered. The medium Sushi Platter ($45.50) and Shoyu Pork ($49.85) remain among customer favorites.