Some fans of Colin Nishida’s popular Kakaako bar and lounge, Side Street Inn, are about to see their dreams come true.
After 18 years in the same spot off Kapiolani Boulevard, Nishida is expanding his local-style culinary empire eastward to Kapahulu. Side Street Inn On Da Strip will open for pau hana and dinner July 25 in a second-floor space at what is now the Prudential Locations building at the corner of Kapahulu and Date Street. Hours of operation are expected to be 3 to 10 p.m. daily, with the possibility of expansion to service lunch-time and late-night crowds.
Nishida was in the building Monday afternoon, serving up a few of his favorites off the Side Street menu and dishing about the decision to set up shop in what some consider a sleeper of a neighborhood when it comes to good eats.
"I think we can all benefit from us being here on this block," he said in reference to new neighbors like Uncle Bo’s, ZenShu and Tokkuri-Tei. "We wanted to bring Side Street to this strip not to take away from the neighborhood and say, ‘These are our customers.’ … It’s like one big mix plate down here. Lots of people, when they’re finishing work, they’ll just stop in for a bite to eat. And we got so much tourists now!"
To maintain the level of quality that Side Street regulars have grown to expect, Nishida drafted longtime employees Earl Kalani and Brandon Matsuura to serve as general manager and bar manager, respectively. He’s also enlisted the help of former Eastside Grill owner Robbie Acoba, who now serves as operations manager.
An advance peek at the menu showed many of the items that made the original Side Street famous, plus a full complement of steak, seafood and pasta dishes. The variety on the menu is reminiscent of what used to impress me about Eastside, except now it’s Nishida in the kitchen and the new room is just as much a family-style restaurant as it is a neighborhood watering hole. Two private rooms ("You can put people who no can sing good karaoke … back there," Nishida joked) and an extended bar area overlooking the Ala Wai Golf Course share an open dining area with booths and tables.
"We still like do the casual, but we want to make it a little more upscale than the other Side Street," said Nishida, adding that despite the brand-new furniture, customers can still "come in your slippers."
For a video peek inside the restaurant, visit tgif.staradvertiser.com …
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