The owner of The Signature Steak & Prime Seafood is opening a second steakhouse next to Liliha Bakery on Nimitz Highway.
Restaurateur Peter Kim is replacing his hot-pot venture, Umamiya Shabu Shabu, with a steakhouse called Little Joe’s.
Kim told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Wednesday that Little Joe’s will open in early March at 580 N. Nimitz Highway.
The name, he said, is inspired by Little George’s, a long-gone steakhouse on Ala Moana Boulevard, across from the Gold Bond building, “I never got there, it closed before I had any money. I didn’t want to copy their name, but it’s how I got the idea.”
Kim opened Umamiya four years ago, but said the hot-pot trend has run its course and business is lagging. Good steak never has a down cycle, he said. “Steak appeals to everybody’s style.”
The 7,000-square-foot space is being renovated, both kitchen and dining room, Kim said.
The restaurant will feature steaks — including rib-eye, T-bone and filet — aged six or seven weeks, as well as seafood, at prices more moderate than the upscale Signature.
Kim said he sees Joe’s as augmenting, not replacing, Signature — something between “The Morton’s of the world” and Outback Steakhouse.
“We’re doing very, very well (at Signature),” Kim said. “Little Joe’s is more moderate pricing, but the process is very similar. At Signature we learned through experience. And that will be applied at Little Joe’s, too.”
Kim said Little Joe’s will have around 60 employees, and that Umamiya employees will be kept on in the company, which includes the Yummy Korean B-B-Q chain and Liliha Bakery.