Delicious Deals

Cover Story

April 1, 2024

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Big City Diner’s humble beginnings can be traced back to 1998 when a local boy from Kailua had big dreams of owning his own restaurant. Lane Muraoka first started in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher for a renowned local eatery chain and would go on to eventually be president and CEO of Big City Diner, with its first location opening up in Kaimuki in 1998.
Muraoka notes the inspiration behind the eatery was to create a truly local family-style restaurant, with a full bar and a catering service that offers a wide variety of fresh, healthy and homemade menu offerings.
The establishment was successful in opening several more locations, including in Kailua, Waipio, Pearlridge Center and Windward Mall. While each is unique to its neighborhood, all the restaurants are comfortable, clean, relaxing and invite patrons to “come as you are.” Most locations also offer outdoor patio dining as well.
We caught up with Muraoka to learn more about Big City Diner’s delicious fare and special deals it currently has for its guests.

DO: What are Big City Diner’s bestselling dishes?
LM: For breakfast, our Famous Ani’s Cinnamon Bread French Toast Sandwich ($15.99) is very popular. It’s served with fresh and local Ka Lei eggs, honey-cured bacon and Jones Dairy Farm breakfast link sausages. Our Paniolo Chicken Salad ($18.99) is a bestselling option for lunch. The flame-broiled grilled chicken breast is served over a bed of fresh romaine and topped with local tomatoes, roasted corn, red onions, Jack and cheddar cheese, and tri-colored chips with homemade salsa. A popular option for dinner is our Slow-Roasted Guava-BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($27.99 Not So Big Slab, $33.99 Big Slab). It is slow-roasted for five hours until the meat falls off the bone. Be sure to upgrade your starch option with Uncle Danny’s Kim Chee Fried Rice for $5.29.

DO: What are some unique items on the menu?
LM: Our Ultimate Tofu-Veggie Omelette ($18.99), which comes with fresh veggies, brown rice, whole-wheat toast and coffee. On our lunch menu, our Kim Chee Fried Min Noodles ($16.49) boasts Chinatown char siu, Portuguese sausage, smoked ham, local cabbage and bean sprouts, and is tossed with freshly made Sun Noodles. Another unique dinner item is our Truly Homemade Mama’s Meatloaf ($19.99), which is topped with demi-glace mushroom gravy and served with fresh sauteed vegetables and roasted-garlic mashed potatoes.

DO: What’s your favorite dish?
LM: Our Grilled Salmon Salad ($19.99) that comes with local tomatoes, mesclun herb greens and homemade ponzu dressing, because it’s such a refreshing and healthy entree. Our chefs flame-broil our salmon to perfection.
DO: Are there any secret menu items?
LM: Our Kalbi and Kim Chee Fries ($14.79). Order it with our Samurai Li-Hing Margarita ($11) or Samurai Li-Hing Lemonade ($5.99).

DO: Are there any current/seasonal specials Big City Diner offers?
LM: Yes, our new 25th Anniversary Complete Meals that are each $25: Chicken Marsala (week one), Furikake Salmon (week two), Chicken Cutlet (week three) and Grilled Asian Fish (week four). There is also an exclusive dessert deal of a Dave’s Ice Cream Scoop ($2.50) — vanilla bean or chocolate — when you order any of our weekly specials.
We also have our Military Mondays, where we offer 10% off dine-in food with beverage purchase and active military ID. And our Senior Citizen Tuesday promo offers 10% off to those 60 years and older from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. when dining in.
DO: What do you love most about Big City Diner?
LM: Our people (team members) are fabulous, family-oriented and serve our guests with aloha.

DO: What experience do you hope customers take away after eating at Big City Diner?
LM: I hope that they can’t wait to return for more award-winning local comfort food and see our friendly servers again!

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