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Hawaii’s first Applebee’s to open in Ewa Beach

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JAYNA OMAYE / JOMAYE@STARADVERTISER.COM

The new Applebee’s in Ewa Beach has hired about 140 employees, 90 percent of whom live in the area.

Hawaii’s first Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar will open Oct. 3 in Ewa Beach.

The 3,700- square-foot restaurant at Ewa Town Center on Fort Weaver Road is geared toward serving area residents, said Vince Espino, president and owner of Union MAK Corp., franchisee of Applebee’s. He described the area as a “real neighborhood.”

The restaurant was slated to open Sunday, but company officials said more time was needed to train employees. The company plans to open a second location at Ka Makana Ali‘i, a mixed-use center in Kapolei, in February.

Espino said the 5,500- square-foot Kapolei restaurant will likely serve a regional market, including tourists from nearby Ko Olina. He said Union MAK also plans to open a third location in Kakaako at a later date.

The company has hired nearly 140 employees at the Ewa Beach location, more than 90 percent of whom live in Ewa, Ewa Beach or Waipahu, said Nathan Hughes, Applebee’s Hawaii brand manager. Company officials said they plan to recruit in West Oahu for the estimated 150 workers needed for the Ka Makana Ali‘i restaurant.

Thalia Aguinaldo, a server at the Ewa Beach location who lives nearby, said she used to commute to Waikiki for work, facing hours of rush-hour traffic. The 23-year-old said she is now able to eat dinner with her husband.

“It’s like a peace of mind,” she said. “To know you’ll be there (work) in two minutes instead of two hours, that’s such a blessing.”

Applebee’s has more than 2,000 locations in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and 15 countries.

11 responses to “Hawaii’s first Applebee’s to open in Ewa Beach”

  1. b_ryan says:

    Wow, the Ewa Beach Applebee’s looks a lot nicer than the ones on the mainland!

  2. allie says:

    This is a good chain. Watch out Zippy’s! Honolulu lacks choices and variety in the mid-range cost restaurant department. I hope many more mainland chains come out heer

    • soundofreason says:

      Haven’t been back to Zippy’s after the first time when learning they charged for drink refills. Justice will be served.

    • kennie1933 says:

      I’ve actually never been a fan of Zippy’s, but I admit their chicken is good and a Zip Pac every now and then is also good. What gets me is their prices which have really increased, and their portions which have really decreased. I remember when a Zip Pac was packed with rice but now, barely a scoop. C’mon, it’s only rice! I also know someone who works in the kitchen who admits that they actually have to count the pieces of meat and vegetables you get when you order stew or curry. And if you go to the bakery, ever notice that the pastries seem just a little smaller or flatter? I know, it’s the economy and of course, prices only go up so yes, I agree that it’s good to have more choices.

  3. Masami says:

    On the one hand its nice that these mainland chains that we see commercials on TV come here yet on the other hand I hope they don’t suffocate and kill off the “local” restaurants.

    • livinginhawaii says:

      LOL – you don’t know the restaurant business – they do not suffocate businesses like a Walmart.

    • dragoninwater says:

      Only way local restaurants will be killed off is if they don’t get their act together. I’ve eaten at Applebees on the mainland and must admit they do have very good tasting American cuisine at budget prices. So from your comment I take it that you concur that Applebees is a threat. The local joints should welcome the competition and start serving better food for a change.

  4. SHOPOHOLIC says:

    They definitely know their customer demographics, that’s for sure.

  5. Hawaiiobserver says:

    I wanna gag. Why are they opening them so close together?

  6. psugator02 says:

    I don’t know what part of Ewa Beach she lives, but I’ve driven from Ewa to Waikiki hundreds of times in rush-hour traffic and it’s NEVER taken me two hours

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