Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Lanakila PacificRestaurant Insider
August 20, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
In 1939, Violet Kam, a special education teacher, created a program to help people recover from tuberculosis. Now, 84 years later, Lanakila Pacific has evolved into a resource that helps thousands of seniors and individuals with disabilities.
It runs the Meals on Wheels program, the largest and only islandwide meal delivery service for seniors on Oahu, as well as Lanakila Kitchen, where you can buy delicious healthy meals for breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays.
Director of food service Reid Yasunaga and director of marketing and development Laurie Hara joined me at Lanakila Kitchen to share more details about the organization, its upcoming fundraiser and how the community can help.
AL: Food service is a large component of your organization. Can you tell me about it?
RY: Our cafeteria is takeout only. We serve grab-and-go items, sandwiches, baked goods, sodas and coffee.
We feature Kupuna Tuesdays, which offers a Lanakila Lunch Special to kupuna 65 years and older for free. We also offer something called Quick Meals. These are frozen meals that feature a protein, starch and vegetable in a convenient disposable container to take home and enjoy a healthy, freshly cooked meal for only $3.
AL: What items will we be eating today from Lanakila Kitchen?
RY: We have the Breakfast Plate ($5.50), which includes rice, two eggs cooked to your liking and a choice of four pieces of breakfast meats (Portuguese sausage, link sausage or bacon).
We also have the Lanakila Lunch Special ($6.50), which includes diced chicken and whole grain penne pasta with our homemade alfredo sauce. It’s accompanied with watercress direct from Sumida Farms in Aiea, prepared with sesame oil.
We also have our Starbucks drip ($1 tall, $1.75 grande, $2 venti) and cold brew coffee ($3 tall, $3.35 grande, $3.55 venti), alongside our blueberry, lilikoi and cranberry scones ($2.25 each), and, for a limited seasonal period, our very berry scone is in stores now.
AL: Can you tell me about your annual fundraiser?
RY & LH: The Good Table is Lanakila Meals on Wheels’ major fundraiser of the year. This year, we are celebrating our 15th anniversary. Once again, we are partnering with island restaurants and chefs who will create amazing multicourse dining experiences just for The Good Table. But this year, we have two ways that people can support.
The first is to purchase a table at a participating restaurant for a dine-in experience Sept. 12-14. (Participating restaurants can be found at lanakilapacific.company.site/ all-restaurants-c136660506).
The second is to place a bid on an incredible dining experience in our silent auction, including an exclusive five-course meal for 10 guests curated and prepared by James BeardAward-winning chefAlan Wong and his friends, a VIP bartending class and pupu party at Tiki’s Grill & Bar, and a fan-favorite multicourse dinner with unlimited wine at Chef Chai’s. (Visit thegoodtable.rallyup.com/silent-auction/Auction/details.)
Tables are on sale now and the silent auction is open. Every table sold counts. Just one table can provide an entire month of meals and more for a senior.
AL: Anything else you want to share?
RY & LH: Lanakila Meals on Wheels served nearly 1,800 seniors last fiscal year and provided more than 395,000 meals. But there is still more to do. The Good Table plays a big role in helping us continue to provide critical services for seniors island-wide.