Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Hy’s Steak HouseRestaurant Insider
August 9, 2020
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: Hy's Steak House
ANNE LEE speaks with Hy’s Steak House chef BRANDON BERNAL & Hy’s Steak House assistant general manager JONAH GALASE
Hy’s Steak House has been an iconic dining destination in Waikiki for over 43 years.
It’s famous for its aged USDA Prime beef that’s trimmed on site and grilled over Hawaiian kiawe wood.
I was able to talk with assistant general manager Jonah Galase and chef Brandon Bernal about how the restaurant has transitioned their offerings in a unique, convenient delivery/pick up cook at home — Hy’s Prime Box — and how they have adapted to the “new normal” guidelines of dining in.
AL: In 2011, G.Lion Group and T. Brothers international acquired Hy’s Steak House, which led to G.Lion Hawaii. How has this new leadership helped with the Hy’s brand?
JG: G.Lion Hawaii has paved the way for two brand-new open-air restaurants that opened in August of 2019. La Vie by G.Lion finds a place in people’s hearts with its whimsical, fun and playful dining, and Quiora.
AL: How long have you been with Hy’s, and how did you get in the industry?
BB: Over three years. I graduated from the culinary program at KCC, and originally focused on pastries and desserts. I started as the pastry chef at Hy’s, but have transitioned to all aspects of culinary. With the impact of COVID-19, we have had to create new items for locals that would bring comfort and convenience to our guests that enjoy the experience of Hy’s Steak House.
JG: Fifteen years — It chose me. Believe it or not, I worked at Hamilton Library at the front desk. I had a few friends that were working here at Hy’s and doing very well. I begged them to get me a job at the restaurant for weeks (when you are vetting someone to be employed here, that person better be up to par, as it’s a reflection on them) and finally I got the opportunity, and have been doing my best ever since.
AL: What changes has Hy’s Steak House made due to COVID-19?
JG: Once our guests have made their reservation over the phone or online, we will call to confirm your reservation and go through a brief COVID-19 questionnaire, also reminding guests to wear masks. There are hand sanitizer stations at every exit, entrance and every room for guests to access. We have completely adapted our steps of service so that we can uphold the highest standard of cleanliness and the safety of our islands and our community. The steps of our service have been completely transformed, but our style of service remains untouched: warm and genuine hospitality throughout every part of your experience with us. From the arrival in our valet areas and the car door opening to the last enjoyment of our table-side flambé, we find true joy in the shared happiness of you, our guests, our ohana.
AL: There is a new initiative that was launched in March as a result of COVID-19, Hy’s Prime Butcher Shop & Market. How was this created?
JG: Convenience was one factor. During this pandemic, guests might not feel as comfortable venturing out. We can deliver Hy’s Prime Butcher Shop & Market offerings to you, or they can pick it up. Quality and value: adhering to the threshold that our guests experience from Hy’s and our products, you can feed a family and make about three to four different meals from these sets. Most importantly we started this outlet of our business with one goal in mind: How do we serve our community? Thanks to our experience and dedication, we have managed to become masters of a craft outside of our dining rooms, providing our guests with dishes that are hearty and simply unforgettable at home.
AL: What types of offerings are available to order and what makes these options so special?
BB: Every month we offer a Prime Box of the Month. For the month of August, the exclusive box includes: four pieces of USDA Prime Beef Tenderloin; four pieces of Balsamic Marinated Chicken Breast; 3 pounds of Pancetta & Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin with Gravy; 15 ounces of Parmesan & Bacon Brussels Sprouts; four pieces of Herb Butter Sweet Corn; 12 ounces of Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Vegetable Medley; and Hy’s Signature Blend Seasoning. Guests can indulge in each month’s box or select one of our subscription plans to let us surprise you every month with the finest selection of protein and accompaniments. Available for pickup on your choice of two Saturdays every month. Use our recipes, tips and tricks to cook something special to share with friends and family — and rest assured you’re serving the best on the island. Available for pickup: Saturdays, Aug. 15 and 29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (times and dates vary each month). Hy’s Prime Butcher Shop & Market also carries a variety of items from our almost-completely-prepared Prime Rib Family Dinners for Five with Famous Cheese Bread, Mixed Greens Salad, Vegetable du Jour, Mashed Potatoes and New York Style Cheesecake; Ready-to-Cook Prime Boxes of the Month; and an amazing spread of thoughtful, handcrafted fresh pasta kits and housemade jarred sauces and dips to-go from our sister restaurant, Quiora, offered through the market.
AL: What does the future hold for your restaurants?
JG: The future holds a lifetime of celebrations whether in the warm and welcoming Broiler Room of Hy’s Steak House, the eighth-floor open-air dining rooms of La Vie and Quiora, or the comfort of our guests’ homes. We will always find a way to share happiness with our community and we look forward to doing so for another 40 years and beyond.
AL: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
JG:We have learned through this challenging time that restaurants cannot survive on their own, and not just be a restaurant … you have to expand. If you do not adapt and change quickly, you have a risk of not being able to survive. We are working on other things to offer our guests, such as free delivery within a 5-mile radius. Our staff has been very flexible, patient and hardworking as this is a transitional time for us, we are grateful for that. We are also very fortunate, as we have had a strong local following to begin with. We are very thankful that our local community through this pandemic has continuously supported us. We love to see the local faces come in and fill in our restaurant — without them we couldn’t do it.