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Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Murphy’s Bar & Grill

Restaurant Insider

April 19, 2020

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Don Murphy, Anne Lee and Danny Dolan get together pre-COVID-19.

ANNE LEE speaks with founder DON MURPHY

Restaurants around the world are finding it difficult to continue crafting delicious dishes for its patrons during the COVID-19 situation. But, despite the setbacks, there are some restaurants doing their part to help those in need.

One such establishment is Murphy’s Bar & Grill — known locally for its incredible heart to give back to others — and this week, owner Don Murphy shares what’s new at his namesake eatery, as well as how seniors can get their hands on tasty takeout through grassroots organization Kupuna Kare.

AL: How is Murphy’s holding up during this time?

DM: We are doing about the same as everyone else — not too good, but still operating. We have our take-out service running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.

Steak Salad ($23.50)

Our business is about 70 percent down, but at least we are still open. I have had to layoff more than half the staff (mainly food servers), but have been able to keep a few of them for peak takeout hours. Hours for my kitchen staff have been cut, but at least they are still working and receiving benefits, which is my main concern.

AL: Can you explain how Murphy’s will be helping the community through Kupuna Kare?

DM: Kupuna Kare is the brain child of Kurt Osaki. This is a grassroots volunteer group to assist Hawaii’s elderly and disabled citizens safely through the COVID-19 crisis. It provides non-emergency services, such as grocery shopping, simple errands and takeout food delivery. Kurt is a good friend, and I am involved just in the sense of providing meals if asked. Right now Murphy’s is offering a $5 Kupuna Kare special, and it varies each week depending on what we have available. This service is available on Oahu, the Big Island, Kauai and Maui. You can log onto kupunakare.com to volunteer, request assistance and learn how to support local businesses. This is a free service to assist during this crisis.

AL: You have always supported the community and given back to many nonprofits. Recently, the restaurant donated a ton of meals to the medical staff at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. How many meals did you prepare and how did you deliver them?

DM: For the past three or four weeks, we have been providing meals to the emergency room at The Queen’s Medical Center about three days as week. We provide 47 meals for the day shift and 30 for the night shift. I would guess we have done 500 or so meals. These meals would not be possible without the help of friends and customers. I also drop off pizzas donated by Danny Dolan at J. Dolan’s along with the meals, and these generally go to different departments.

I deliver the meals myself — it’s easy, a 5-minute drive from Murphy’s. My kitchen staff has been incredible, working tirelessly under very stressful conditions, and several of my floor staff come in and volunteer their time. It seems as though times like this bring out the best in some. I can’t explain how humbled I get from the support we receive from our loyal customers, and even some people I don’t even know. That would make for an article of its own.

AL: What takeout options do you have available? DM: Our takeout menu is an abbreviated model of our regular menu and can be seen online at murphyshawaii. com/takeoutmenu. Call 531-0422 to place an order.

AL: Are we still able to order Marion’s pies?

DM: Marion’s pies are still available on Fridays (Pie Day).

AL: Is there anything else you want to share with readers?

DM: I would just like to thank everyone for their support of Murphy’s or whatever restaurant they are supporting. There are many in our industry doing what they can to help. These are very trying times, and it seems as though the restaurant industry always steps up during troubled times. That makes me very proud to be a part of it. Keep supporting your local restaurant and pray we are all still here when this ends.

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