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New restaurant's debut to aid nonprofit groups

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 12:05 a.m. HST, Oct 15, 2010

Pablo's Cantina will open in the former Compadres Mexican Bar & Grill space in Ward Centre tomorrow night with a series of fundraisers. Its grand opening will be Oct. 22.

It's sort of expected in Hawaii that when a restaurant opens, the first night will benefit a nonprofit, but to have multiple nights to help multiple organizations is unusual. Make-a-Wish Foundation, Catholic Charities Hawaii and Hawaii Polo Club will be the beneficiaries.

"My wife and I believe strongly" in community engagement, said Steve Hamile, principal owner. "God's been very good to us, and we have a credo of giving back."

Hamile and his partners own 21 restaurants in the U.S. Pablo's, a new concept for the investors, is their first restaurant in Hawaii.

For the first couple of weeks, Pablo's will be open to the nonprofits' invited guests as well as the public with buffet-style service of signature dishes.

The nonprofits' presence ensures the first nights will have a good crowd.

Each organization will get 50 percent of a night's receipts, beginning tomorrow with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The foundation will also receive 10 percent of the proceeds Thursday through Sunday and again Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Catholic Charities Hawaii gets 50 percent from its Oct. 14 event and 10 percent from Oct. 15-17 and 19-20, while the Hawaii Polo Club will receive 50 percent on Oct. 21.

After the first fundraisers, Pablo's will continue to set aside 10 cents from each customer check to donate to a foundation that supports women's, children's and animal causes.

A second Pablo's will open in Tustin, Calif., next month, and Hamile is scouting future Hawaii locations in Hawaii Kai, Mililani, Kapolei, "potentially Kailua and then in Maui," he said.

Hamile is a second-generation Hawaii restaurateur. His father and mother owned the Alii Lounge, a jazz club. Hamile has moved with his wife to Honolulu, where he is also establishing a corporate office.

Flight attendant faux pas

Gone are the days when flight attendants were called stewardesses and were touted by airlines for their beauty, youth and other physical aspects that objectified them -- which federal legislation and flight attendants unions successfully banished. (That is, until the advent of Austin Powers movies.)

Things are different elsewhere, as evidenced by a recent Honolulu speech by Hainan Airlines Chairman Chen Feng. (The airline has announced Honolulu-to-Hainan service but has yet to reach a deal with the state.)

Part of Feng's speech simultaneously raised eyebrows and caused amusement, given the presence of Gov. Linda Lingle and other high-powered female professionals, as well as men, at the Waikiki Lau Yee Chai.

Feng spoke through an interpreter, and those who understood Chinese would laugh. The interpreter would pause, seemingly to quickly consider more diplomatic phrasing, according to Star-Advertiser reporter Allison Schaefers.

Hainan Airlines "has a respect for all things beautiful, including lovely young girls," Feng said. "The American airlines have aunties and grandmothers, (but) I think people like to see the young girls."

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at


CORRECTION: Pablo's Cantina opening nights' fundraisers benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation from Oct. 6 through Sunday , not through Saturday. The Hawaii Polo Club will receive 50 percent of the restaurant's proceeds on the night of Oct. 21, not Oct. 20. And after the initial fundraisers, Pablo's will set aside 10 cents, not 10 percent, from each customer check for a charity. TheBuzz on Page B6 Oct. 6 contained incorrect information.

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