Minnie Yoshimori was first in line at the Jan. 11 opening of Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering’s express location at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park in Waipio.
The Mililani resident, a Tanioka’s customer since the 1980s, debated what to order from the menu featuring bentos, plate lunches, musubi, garlic and mochiko chicken, poke bowls and salads, and finally settled on some maki sushi.
“There is no traffic. Parking is good. This is perfect,” said Yoshimori, adding that she “could not wait” for the express to open.
The opening of Tanioka’s Express marks the first time in 10 years that the company has operated outside of Waipahu, with the first outlet at Pioneer Plaza closing in 2005. Hours at the Waipio express, located between the 250-acre park’s swimming pool and tennis courts, are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily with additional hours during tournaments, which will be posted online and at the park.
The menu hosts similar items to what is offered in Waipahu and the same prices, said Jasmine Tanioka, the company’s chief financial officer. Tanioka added that the park offers plenty of parking and a dining area. Parking is sometimes limited at the Waipahu location, which has offered takeout only.
“It was even better than we expected,” Tanioka said of the express opening, which attracted nearly 40 customers within the first hour. “They (customers) liked having a place to sit down and eat. That was the No. 1 response. It was awesome.”
Amy Umetsu and her three friends, who had just finished playing tennis, touted the convenience of the express to park users.
“We were waiting for them to open for a while,” said Umetsu, who ordered a deluxe bento filled with a cone sushi, musubi, mochiko chicken, noodles, teri beef and fish patty.
Tanioka said the opening-day top sellers were the poke bowls and plate lunches.
“I think we’re going to see how this goes, and we’ll be open to expanding after,” Tanioka said of other possible locations. “I think the park is the perfect location for us.”