Five generations strongCover Story
October 30, 2023
Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen is one of the few remaining old-school, family-owned restaurants in Honolulu. Its roots trace back to 1935 when Taisuke and Katsuko Sekiya opened an eatery on School Street — aptly named School Delicatessen — that sold various okazu, shave ice and ice cream. During World War II, the Sekiyas started offering plate lunches. In 1955, Sekiya’s found a new home at 2746 Kaimuki Ave., where it continues to serve its loyal patrons today.
Despite changes throughout the years, one thing has remained constant: Sekiya’s is still owned and operated by the same family. Recently, the ohana welcomed its fifth generation with the addition of Kanoe, who in no time will be cooking it up in the kitchen, continuing the family’s legacy.
Here, Leonard “Trey” Paresa, Kanoe’s dad and the eatery’s chef, offers insight about Sekiya’s popular dishes and more.
DO: What do you like about being in the Kaimuki neighborhood?
LP: We appreciate the locals. Being in Kaimuki allows us to focus on our loyal, local guests.
We’re also lucky to have such a large parking lot so that no matter what side of the island you come from, there will always be parking for families to come and meet.
DO: What are some dishes you’d like to highlight?
LP: We have the Oxtail Soup ($23.95) featuring four pieces of oxtail that’s simmered for hours until tender. The recipe is very simple and came from Chinese neighbors back when we were located in Chinatown. It’s different than some in that it doesn’t have star anise. The depth of flavor is more balanced, however, especially when adding the fresh ginger and Chinese parsley. It’s served as a full meal.
The Large Saimin and Hamburger Deluxe add Cheese ($17.10) is a classic combination. We make our dashi for the saimin from scratch, with its main base being shrimp. Once the noodles are cooked, we add dashi and top it with our housemade char siu and green onions. We also make the hamburgers from scratch. After cutting inside round for our beef dishes, we grind the rest of it up and make our own hamburger patties. Our deluxe includes lettuce, onion and tomato, and many people prefer to add cheese to it.
The Marinated Fried Chicken ($15.65) features boneless fillets of chicken, marinated in our secret sauce, dredged in potato flour and fried until golden and crispy. It’s served as a full meal and comes with a side of daikon oroshi and shoyu.
The Nitsuke Butterfish ($20.65) is butterfish simmered slowly with sugar and shoyu. A full order is three pieces, but when ordered as part of our combination special, it comes with two pieces.
Lastly, the Oyako Donburi ($13.75) — meaning mother and child — has chicken, long rice, mushroom and onion simmered in sugar, shoyu and dashi, and is finished with a poached scrambled egg. It’s served over rice and also is a full meal.
DO: Do you have any “pro tips” for patrons?
LP: As far as food goes, we do everything on our menu available to go. We also have a breakfast menu! Available from opening to 11 a.m. with omelets available all day long.
DO: Is there anything you would like to add?
LP: We would like to mention that we are hiring! All positions, but especially cooks.