While living on Molokai, Bobby and Diane Nakihei couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a plate-lunch special. The classic Hawaiian dish—two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and an entree—is served at practically every fast-food restaurant and food wagon across the island. When the couple moved from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest, they began to long for the once-ubiquitous island cuisine. So Bobby traded the stuffy shirt and tie of a bookkeeping career for the patterned, button-down shirts of his homeland and opened Bobby's Hawaiian Style Restaurant, drawing transplanted islanders and locals alike to his plate-lunch specials, which often come wrapped in taro leaves and seaweed.
His cuisine earned the restaurant a spot on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and praise from Scott Gorman of the Herald, who extols it as “prepared and presented with a good deal of authenticity and style.” Revered dishes include Kahlua pig, which Chef Bobby cures with hawaiian sea salt, covers in banana leaves, and roasts for eight hours. The meticulous preparation extends to the rest of the menu, which spotlights the leaf-steamed pork of laulau and the sushi-esque spam musubi. In addition to the cuisine, owners Bobby and Diane showcase Hawaiian culture by offering hula lessons, presenting live Hawaiian music and recycling diners' lawn clippings into grass skirts.