By, Joseph Tabalon

 

When a customer steps into Homestyle Hawaiian, the sound of authentic Hawaiian music fills their ears and patrons are immediately greeted by the welcoming employees. The overwhelming scent of the restaurant’s different dishes, from the tangy mahi with lemon capers to their zesty lava chicken, intensifies as they fall in line to place their order.

Originally created ten years ago, Homestyle Hawaiian aims to deliver its customers authentic Hawaiian food to its San Diego based customers.

“About ten years ago, I just loved real authentic Hawaiian food. There was nothing here except L&L and all of these Mama and Papa stores, so I wanted something that was not the fast food type of establishment, but real local food that you would buy in Hawaii,” owner Moe Tolentino said.

Along with its authentic Hawaiian food on the menu, food from different cultures that has influenced Hawaiian culture is served as well, such as Filipino, Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean dishes.

“It’s not all just traditional Hawaiian, it’s local food that’s influenced from different cultures, but everything we do, every dish that we have has a hint of Hawaiian in it.” Tolentino said.

From families, couples, tourists, but especially amongst the high school students, Homestyle Hawaiian is a popular eatery.

“Throughout the week we do have a lot of high school students. They like coming after school too, and right before practices. They’ll come in and they’ll all order spam musubi. We get regular based customers from [the high school] everyday,” front girl Hazel Lardizabal said.

Despite the many competitors around Bonita Vista, Homestyle Hawaiian holds its ground through its unique dishes and extremely welcoming atmosphere.

“Many businesses are just strictly more of an ‘I’ll serve you, give you your food, just give me your money and thats it,’ but what I see here is that we have a lot of regular customers and they keep coming back and we actually build relationships with these people. I know their names, they know my name, we have conversations,” Lardizabal said.

Tolentino continues to work, add onto his menu, and improve his facilities to spread the influence of Hawaiian culture to different areas.

“My goal is to make [Hawaiian food] the next Chinese. When you ask someone what they want for dinner, everyone asks for Chinese, Mexican, or American food, no one ever says Hawaiian. Making Hawaiian food part of peoples’ weekly eating habits, that’s what I’d like to do.” Tolentino said.

When a customer steps into Homestyle Hawaiian, the sound of authentic Hawaiian music fills their ears and patrons are  immediately greeted by the welcoming employees. The overwhelming scent of the restaurant’s different dishes, from the tangy mahi with lemon capers to their zesty lava chicken, intensifies as they fall in line to place their order.

Originally created ten years ago, Homestyle Hawaiian aims to deliver its customers authentic Hawaiian food to its San Diego based customers.

“About ten years ago, I just loved real authentic Hawaiian food. There was nothing here   except L&L and all of these Mama and Papa stores, I wanted something that was not the fast food type of establishment, but real local food that you would buy in Hawaii,” owner Moe Tolentino said.

Along with its authentic Hawaiian food on the menu, food from different cultures is served as well, such as Filipino, Japanese, Portueguese, and Korean dishes.

“It’s not all just traditional Hawaiian, it’s local food that’s influenced from different cultures, but everything we do, every dish that we have has a hint of Hawaiian in it.” Tolentino said.

From families, tourists, but especially amongst the high school students, Homestyle Hawaiian is a popular eatery.

“Throughout the week we do have a lot of high school students coming after school too, and right before practices. They’ll come in and they’ll all order spam musubi. We get regular based customers from [the high school] everyday,” front girl Hazel Lardizabal said.

Despite the many competitors around Bonita, Homestyle Hawaiian holds its ground through its unique dishes.

“Many businesses are just strictly more of an ‘I’ll serve you, give you your food, just give me your money and thats it,’ but we have a lot of regular customers and they keep coming back and we actually build relationships with these people. I know their names, they know my name, we have conversations,” Lardizabal said.

Tolentino continues to spread the influence of Hawaiian culture by adding on to his menu.

“My goal is to make [Hawaiian food] the next Chinese. When you ask someone what they want for dinner, everyone asks for Chinese, Mexican, or American food, no one ever says Hawaiian. Making Hawaiian food part of peoples’ eating habits, that’s what I’d like to do,” Tolentino said.