The Award-Winning Yard House Makes Its Island Debut at the New Waikiki Beach Walk
Yard House, the award-winning restaurant founded by former Kailua resident Steele Platt, makes its debut today at Waikiki Beach Walk. The restaurant, opening at the new lifestyle center at Lewers Street and Kaila Road, is known for its extensive American fusion menu, classic rock music and world’s largest selection of beer. Yard House welcomes guests daily from 11am to 1am with late-night dining available until midnight and last call at 1am.
Platt greeted old friends, neighbors and school chums, many of which he has known from his days at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary, Aikahi Elementary, Kalaheo Junior High and Our Redeemer Lutheran School, institutions he attended from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s, at a pair of pre-opening parties held at the new restaurant over the weekend.
“It feels great to be home,” said Platt, who left the island in 1977 to attend the University of Denver. “I’ve seen so many familiar faces and have had an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. I brought my mom and 3-year-old son along, so for us this is like a multi-generational homecoming.”
The restaurant spans nearly 12,000 square feet with a guest capacity of 350 and features a contrasting mix of warm woods, stainless steel accents and original artwork. Adding to the ambiance is a menu of American fare created by award-winning Executive Chef and Partner Carlito Jocson. With a nod to his Filipino heritage, many of Chef Jocson’s dishes feature flavors of the Pacific Rim, which are then infused with more traditional fare. The menu, which displays more than 100 items, includes a creative list of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, rice and pasta dishes, as well as steak and seafood. Chef Jocson has also created a fresh fish menu featuring local catch pulled from the Pacific Ocean and served with an array of mix and match sauces that will only be offered at Waikiki Beach Walk. In addition, Yard House offers a prix fixe children’s menu printed on a 12-page activity book with a selection of items found on the regular menu only served in age-appropriate portions and accompanied with a choice of side dishes, a Kustom Kooler and fresh fruit dessert bar.
The restaurant’s island bar, a Yard House trademark, contains a fleet of 130 handles with a handful of taps that pour island brews including Keoki Gold and Keoki Hawaiian Sunset, Big Aloha Blonde and Big Aloha Enu, Mehana Hawaii Lager and Mehana Volcano Red, Blue Hawaiian Primo Hefeweizen, and several Kona ales and lagers. The glass-enclosed keg room is essentially the pulse of the operation, and houses as much as 600 kegs and more than 1,000 gallons of beer at a time. More than five miles of beer lines stretch overhead from the keg room to the signature island bar, creating a rather intricate network in which to transport the chilled liquid. In addition, there is an assembly of individual pumps circulating as much as 2,000 gallons of coolant every hour in order to keep the beer consistently fresh as well as perfectly chilled.
The restaurant’s extensive cocktail menu also features a selection of Waikiki-inspired specialty drinks, including the Beach Walk (Cruzan banana rum, Malibu passion rum, passion fruit juice, Float of Island Blue Pucker and a squeeze of fresh lime), Lewer Breeze (Cruzan banana rum, Malibu rum, pineapple and cranberry juices), and Pewter Bay (Captain Morgan, Dekupyer Island Blue Pucker, Dekuyper Watermelon Pucker, and a squeeze of fresh lime). A pair of martinis has also been created exclusively for this location and includes the Aquatini (Bacardi Rum, Dekuyper Island Blue Pucker, Malibu Rum, and pineapple and lychee juices) and the Island Blue (Malibu Rum, Dekuyper Island Blue Pucker, Rose’s Lime Juice, sweet and sour, and a squeeze of fresh lime). Yard House will also offer an assortment of chilled and warm sakes.
Throughout the restaurant are a number of 42-inch HD plasma screen monitors strategically angled so guests can quench their thirsts for the latest sporting or news events. The state-of-the-art plasma screens also showcase the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, while the state-of-the-art sound system, featuring a library of more than 5,000 titles of classic rock including a large volume of classic and contemporary Hawaiian music, continuously plays throughout the day and evening. Each morning Platt personally creates the eclectic play list from his home and sends it via the Internet to the restaurant. The custom sound system is so sophisticated that the play list can be instantly altered and reprogrammed to reflect the age and preference of the guests.
“Music is an important component to our philosophy and we take it very seriously,” says Platt. “What I don’t want our guests to hear is the clatter of forks, knives and spoons, which is typical at other restaurants. The overall dining experience should be fun and enjoyable, which is what we strive for at Yard House.”
The Yard House at Waikiki Beach Walk is the 16th Yard House to open since the company’s founding in 1996. Yard House USA, LLC, which is expected to break the $130-million mark in sales by the end of this year, will continue to grow and expand with as many as four new Yard House locations slated to open in 2007, including two additional locations in Southern California and a single unit in Las Vegas.
Yard House at Waikiki Beach Walk is located at 226 Lewers Street between Beach Walk, Lewers Street and Kaila Road. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch, dinner and late-night dining. Guests are seated on a first come, first-served basis. For information, call 808.923.YARD (9273) or visit online at www.yardhouse.com.
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SOURCE: Yard House Restaurants