Forty years ago, Sandy Beall had an epiphany—he would open a casual restaurant that serves handcrafted dishes made with quality ingredients, such as 100% USDA Choice or Prime ground beef, vine-ripened tomatoes, and applewood-smoked bacon. Ruby Tuesday opened near the University of Tennessee in 1972, and it proved to be so popular, that it is now an iconic American institution with about 900 restaurants across the United States and the world. Local culinary kings Ted Davenport and Rick Nakashima oversee the Ruby Tuesday Hawaii locations, teaming up to bring flavor that has earned their eateries mentions from Hawaii Sports Memories and MidWeek.
At Ruby Tuesday Hawaii, customers select dishes from the menu, such as jumbo skewered shrimp, top sirloin steaks with roasted spaghetti squash, or chunks of rich lobster meat swimming in a creamy mac ’n’ cheese. Cocktails from an ample bar menu compete with craft beer and frozen drinks.
Ruby Tuesday Hawaii’s staffers aren’t just concerned with making their customers happy—they also want to make Mother Nature happy and do so with a variety of green efforts and massages for trees. Recent programs include discussions on storm-water management and school rewards for students who perform well academically.
If you're suffering through a hangover, forget the aspirin and the hair-of-the-dog. Instead, head to Ba Le Vietnamese Food for their recommended cure: a bowl of spicy, savory pho, simmered for 10 hours with fresh bone marrow and brisket flanks. Even if you aren't recovering from a rough night, the restaurant has plenty to offer—bahn mi sandwiches with pickled vegetables and house-made mayonnaise, refreshing green papaya salad, and lemongrass-marinated meats are a few specialties. Patrons can also sip bubble tea or take home freshly baked french bread and croissants.
More than five years ago, the owners of The Fat Greek decided to introduce the islands to their take on fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. With three locations, the BYOB eatery's menu spans the Mediterranean with authentic dishes such as spanakopita, falafel, gyros, and souvlaki. Each dish, from shawarma to hummus, is prepared fresh on-site daily using ingredients delivered directly by Zeus disguised as a refrigerated truck. Rather than rely on heavy sauces, the dishes follow the Greek tradition with simple seasonings of olive oil, lemon, and spices.
The menu at Prima is split into two sections: Pizza and Not Pizza. In the latter, you'll find a dozen or so shareable treats, such as brussels sprouts with prosciutto and oven-roasted radicchio. But it's the pizzas here that steal the show, both on the menu and as chefs pull them from the restaurant's massive brick oven.
Inside that oven, local kiawe smoking wood cooks the handcrafted pies to thin and crispy perfection. Those include pizzas like the popular Spicy Meatball with arugula and chillies or the Funghi with cremini mushrooms and herbs. The restaurant strives to work with more local products too, as the kitchen counter, tables, and bar all consist of recycled woods and most ingredients come from local sources. It's no surprise then, that the menu changes seasonally, just like the location of Hawaii's islands. But Food & Wine editors had no trouble finding chef Kevin Lee, who they named among the magazine's 2014 Best New Chef finalists.
A Cup of Tea Victorian Tea Room Restaurant and Boutique immerses guests in a Victorian tearoom experience. Doily-clad tables and patterned wallpaper complement lamps fashioned like teapots. Teacups and saucers adorned with colorful flowers hold earl grey, darjeeling, and chai varieties, along with special mixes from around the world. Guests can enjoy their tea with freshly baked scones, soups, sandwiches, and sweet treats.
First-time guests to Baci Bistro might think that co-owner Bill Duval is psychic. On any given night, he greets visitors at the door, addressing most by name. His friendliness is hardly supernatural, though—it's a shared habit between himself and his wait staff: remembering the names of returning guests. Some of the servers have even been stocking their mental rolodexes since the bistro first opened in 1997, when designers first planted the red, puckering-lips logo around the foliage-flanked interior.
Along with the warmth of its employees, Baci Bistro's signature element is freshness. Executive chef and co-owner Reza Azeri stands by the appetizing simplicity of made-to-order meals, prepping sauces that harmonize with pastas instead of masking their flavor. Ravioli remains the house specialty, whether it's stuffed with lobster or the surprise ingredient of the day, and meat entrees decorate veal, pork, chicken, and fish with vegetables and wine sauces. The menu also allows children to mix and match their choices of sauces and noodles rather than forcing them to eat like adults, who enjoy wine sauces and wipe their mouths with business cards.