12th Avenue Grill reopens in Kaimuki

Oct. 1, 2013 | 0 Comments
Guests preview the new 12th Avenue Grill restaurant in Kaimuki on Friday, Sept. 30. (Courtesy Nick Tomasello)

Guests preview the new 12th Avenue Grill restaurant in Kaimuki on Friday, Sept. 30. (Courtesy Nick Tomasello)

BY NINA WU / nwu@staradvertiser.com

Following a traditional Hawaiian blessing last weekend, the all-new 12th Avenue Grill — a Honolulu Star-Advertiser ‘Ilima Award-winning American bistro — opens for its first dinner service at 5:30 p.m. today, Oct. 1.

The new digs are a few blocks down Waialae Ave. at the former Victoria Inn location in Kaimuki, which underwent a $1 million transformation that took a year to complete. The new space is much more contemporary, with clean lines and a new, wood-top bar set against orange walls. A private dining room was added.

The old Victoria Inn, with its mirrored walls, pink tabletops and red, tufted vinyl booths are history. Hanney replaced the seating with new banquettes and added wood tables to match those of the restaurant’s former location, accented by pendant lighting above.

Gone, too, are some of the walls in the space, giving it a more open feel and more than doubling the restaurant’s size to nearly 4,000 square feet. There’s a brand new kitchen, too, and the 12th Ave. staff has doubled as a result of the move.

“Whatever was here before is no longer here,” said chef-owner Kevin Hanney. “Whatever you see here now is new.”

Confit Shinsato pork belly with maui pineapple-dark rum lacquer on dandelion greens will be on 12th Ave. Grill's menu. Photo by Nick Tomasello.

Confit Shinsato pork belly with maui pineapple-dark rum lacquer on dandelion greens will be on 12th Avenue Grill’s menu. (Courtesy Nick Tomasello)

Hanney and his wife, Denise Luke, hosted a private preview on Friday with a generous spread of menu items highlighting products from local farms, including Naked Cow Dairy, Kunia Country Farms, Small Kine Farm and Maui Cattle Co.

The menu will remain mostly the same, with longtime favorites like the grilled pork chop and mac and cheese sticking around, with a new bar menu available that will feature tapas-style plates, including a melt-in-your-mouth confit Shinsato pork belly with Maui pineapple-dark rum lacquer on Kunia Farms dandelion greens topped with a poached Ka Lei egg yolk.

Still on the late night bar menu: The Maui Cattle Co. burger and a craft beer or cocktail special; barman Mike Hall will also offer a new selection of creative, signature cocktails. Keep an eye out for deep-fried duck wings, too.

Chef Hanney and executive chef Jason Schoonover have also added two new large plate offerings: Hawaiian Kampachi poached in Big Island lavender-infused oil on spiced mac nut jasmine rice over Ho Farms tomato and preserved lemon confiture, and Maui Cattle Co. bone-in short ribs (crusted with Small Kine Farm crimini duxelle) on roasted Big Island root vegetables.

Now located at 1120 12th Ave., 12th Avenue Grill will be open from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, with the new bar menu available from 10 to 11 p.m. The “Craft Bar” menu will be available from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays in the lounge area only (first come, first serve). And after numerous requests, the restaurant will soon be open Sundays, with rotating family-style specials in addition to the regular menu.

The rectangular “Victoria Inn” sign hanging outside will eventually be replaced with a smaller one that says “12th Ave. Grill,” Hanney said.

As for the old space at 1145-C 12th Ave. — where the restaurant served diners for nine years — Hanney has plans to open a new brunch house called Luke’s Cafe with in-house breakfast sausages and bacons. No opening date has been set.

For more information, call 732-9469 or visit 12thavegrill.com.

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