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Fan-favorite ribs

Cover Story

August 22, 2021

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Big City Diner corporate executive chef Dennis Franks showcases the restaurant’s famous barbecue sauce and ribs.

Nearly a quarter century after opening its doors to diners across Oahu, Big City Diner still serves as the go-to Hawaiian-style destination for fresh, hearty — and healthy — meals served in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

The iconic eatery has made a lasting impression on multiple generations of diners since opening in 1998, and features five convenient locations: Kailua, Kaimuki, Pearl-ridge, Waipio and Windward Mall. With an eclectic array of menu options, Big City Diner features locally influenced cuisine crafted to please patrons of all ages with an upscale twist — but without the inflated prices. The experienced restaurant team makes it a priority to update the menu and keep up with the latest trends and techniques.

Just in time for football season, the restaurant is rolling out Labor Day weekend specials, which will be available Sept. 3-6. The Labor Day Prime Rib Family Pack ($179.99) serves four to five people, and includes nearly 4 pounds of USDA Choice Hawaiian rock salt prime rib; 2 pounds of roasted garlic mashed potatoes; oven-roasted vegetables; large Caesar salad topped with local Roma tomatoes; five pieces of Snow Krabby Cakes topped with sweet chile aioli; and homemade macadamia nut-haupia bread pudding.

Surf-N-Turf: Prime Rib, Krabby Cake Combo (call for updated cost) Photo by L. Tabudlo

The Labor Day Breakfast Pack ($74.99) serves four to six people and features 10 pieces of Ani’s Awesome Cinnamon Bread French Toast; four pieces of homemade breakfast bread pudding with haupia cream sauce; scrambled eggs made from 10 eggs; 10 pieces of grilled Portuguese sausage; five pieces of Snow Krabby Cakes topped with sweet chile aioli; and six scoops of steamed white rice (guests may upgrade to Uncle Danny’s Fried Rice for an additional $7.47, or Kimchee Fried Rice for $8.97 more). There will be limited quantities of these Labor Day specials for takeout customers, and guests must place orders at least 72 hours in advance by calling the Big City Diner restaurant nearest them, or ordering via bigcitydinerhawaii.com.

Big City Diner has also introduced a new keto menu featuring low-to-zero carbohydrates and sugar for those following that diet plan, or looking for a healthier option. And, be sure to make Big City Diner the go-to destination for watching UH Rainbow Warrior football games as guests can enjoy $7 “Tiny” 25-ounce Modelo draft beers, and food specials including the Kalbi Pork Sandwich ($5 in August) and Korean Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($5 in September).

Korean Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($5 in September) Photo courtesy Big City Diner

When it comes to cooking at home, it’s all about the sauce. To help kick up one’s home cooking and barbecue experience, bring home some of Big City Diner’s Famous Guava BBQ Sauce from one’s favorite BCD location. Individual bottles are $7 apiece, while buying in bulk ($20 for four) pays off. The sauce can also be enjoyed on Big City Diner’s Baby Back Ribs on the Big Slab ($28.99) or the Not-So-Big Slab ($23.49).

“Without the loyal support and continued patronage of our longtime customers, we would not be in business today. With heartfelt gratitude, we can’t thank each and every Big City Diner guest enough,” says corporate executive chef Dennis Franks. “Thank you so much for supporting a small, local business — it’s very much appreciated!”

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Big City Diner team has implemented 6-foot distancing between tables, sanitizes all areas of the restaurants regularly and makes it easy to order takeout, both in person and via delivery.

The restaurants are operating on modified schedules, and happy hour is still available Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on the outdoor patios, but as Franks explains, “We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable that we’re adhering to all CDC recommendations to keep our guests and employees safe.”

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