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 …
FRIDAY’S PICKS: Chinatown invades Kakaako tonight when the Jumpoffs, Painted Highways and Clones of the Queen play FLUX Magazine’s fall launch party at Fresh Cafe. Local rockers GRLFRNDS are also on the bill, playing their final show before taking an extended hiatus. Doors open at 8 p.m. for those 18 and older; call 688-8055 … Issues with the Honolulu Liquor Commission haven’t stopped the party at the Waikiki Trade Center. G-Style Productions will expand its "Friday Night Luau" to feature live music at both the Shack Waikiki and Black Diamond Nightclub; Ooklah the Moc is this week’s featured band, with DJs Rude Dogg, Osna and Bonafide Sound System on the decks. Doors open at 8 p.m. … Hollywood-based Soulgood partners with Pacific Jungle on a night of beats with Miami’s DJ Stereotype and L.A.’s DJ Dyer. Local DJs Atlantic Connection, Saya, THD and Jamz will open the night around 10 p.m. …
SATURDAY’S PICKS: Motorsports fans will want to be at Aloha Stadium for "StreetDreams Showdown Hawaii" from 3 to 11 p.m. Admission is $15, with more than 150 vehicles on display and performances by Mic Tre and Krystilez. Visit www.streetdreamsshowdownhawaii.com … Singer Yvonne Elliman will perform two intimate dinner shows at Cafe Hula Girl at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., featuring a four-course menu by chef Brian Huffman. Call 282-9327 for reservations … Local photographer Russell Tanoue celebrates his birthday with an "Ultra Gold Birthday Bash" at Pearl Ultralounge following an invite-only bash at the Pacific Club. Doors at Pearl open at 10 p.m. with an evening of drinks and dancing hosted by Tanoue and Kim Koga to follow. Guests will also have a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas; visit www.my-rt.com for more info …
In the Mix drops Fridays in TGIF. Contact Jason Genegabus by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 529-4766. Check out TGIF on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TGIF808.