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Kalihi Eats: Kenny's Restaurant

Kenny’s Celebrated Chinese Chicken Salad

Kenny’s Restaurant, formerly Kenny’s Coffee House & Deli, has been a mainstay in the Kamehameha Shopping Center in Kalihi for as long as I can remember. They gave the restaurant a complete renovation back in 2003, not long after closing Kenny’s Burgerhouse in the same shopping center, which is now a McDonald’s.

We decided to have lunch here the other day to catch up on this popular neighborhood Kalihi eatery.

The renovated interior has a clean, warm, at-home and relaxed, non-hurried feel to it, with comfortable, semi-private booth-style seating.

The coffee house & diner style menu has all the comfort foods one would expect, of course with a local twist to many of the dishes.

Getting right into it, I remember reading an article about their fantastic fish dishes, so from their fresh fish listing, I chose the Grilled Teriyaki Ahi plate…

Fresh Grilled Teriyaki Ahi. $11.50

This HUGE slab of Ahi steak , measuring about a full hand span, had to have been at least 12 ounces. At least. Certainly kudos to the chef for knowing just how much to sear and cook this cut of fish without drying it out. It was wonderfully moist and fresh-tasting (not frozen), with a nicely-seared crust on the outside for texture and flavor contrast. It was plated with a bowl of Tentsuyu and daikon oroshi tempura dipping sauce, which added further moisture and flavor. Just excellent.

A fresh and tender bite of grilled Teriyaki Ahi

The fresh fish dishes include a side dish of miso soup and tsukemono (pickled vegetables) and your choice of white or brown rice, mashed potato or french fries. I opted for brown rice, which I barely touched due to the massive quantity of fish I had to finish!

Tsukemono and Miso Soup accompaniment

Other catch of the day options included garlic ahi, misoyaki butterfish, salmon and various reef fish such as Akule, Manini and Taape.

Diner “C” ordered their popular Chinese Chicken Salad…

Chinese Chicken Salad – Shoyu chicken, char siu, won ton chips, Chinese parsley, and peanuts on a bed of crisp lettuce laced with our Special Sesame Seed Dressing! $9.59

During the hour or so we spent there, I witnessed at least 5 of these popular salads brought to various tables around the establishment. It’s accompanied by a sweeted sesame-based dressing..

Kenny’s Special Sesame Seed Dressing

The large-portioned salad can be enjoyed either alone as entree or shared amonst your table as a side salad for everyone. Diner “C” made an interesting comment in that she thought the chicken was actually Kalua Pig, as it has a sort of smoked flavor to it. She likened the dressing’s flavor to the Oriental Sesame Oil Dressing sold at Costco, although, you can tell Kenny’s makes their own. Overall she really enjoyed it, although she could only finish half of it and took the rest home for later.

Diner “A” chose the Teri Beef King sandwich…

Teri Beef King (open-faced) sandwich – Served open faced on a toasted sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, a pickle spear & fries. $7.59

Diner “A” really raved about this one, saying the teriyaki beef was exceptionally moist, tender and flavorful, also commenting how he liked the fries. Something he’d reorder on his next visit.

Diner “E” ordered the Rueben sandwich…

Rueben Sandwich – Thinly sliced corned beef on grilled rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing, a pickle spear & fries.

Diner “E” commented that the 1000 island dressing had a pronounced flavor to it, giving the sandwich a unique flavor profile. Overall he enjoyed it, also giving a thumbs-up to the fries along with it (hey, that IS important!). For that photo, I should’ve asked him to prop the sandwich up over the fries so you can see the inside, but were hungry and too hurried to think about that!

Being the local boy Diner “E” truly is, he had to order a side of Fried Rice go accompany his sandwich and fries!…

Kenny’s Fried Rice (side dish). $2.25

I tried a small sample and gotta’ say… this is some ONO fried rice!

The lunch specials of the day on our visit was Stuffed Cabbage or Spaghetti with Meatballs. We also took notice to the “Early Bird” special, which was $3.00 off all dinner entrees.

The prices across the menu have apparently gone up significantly based on recent online reviews, which might be hard to swallow for larger families watching their budget. This was especially noticed by Diner “E” who used to be a regular here when he lived in the area. It’s still within par for the course though.

See their website at www.kennysrestaurant.com for the complete menu.

We were promptly seated upon arrival and the staff did a great job taking our order, filling our glasses, bringing our food and removing dishes all in a timely manner.

There’s so many tempting dishes to want to come back and try more, which hopefully we’ll do again. We all agreed it was a great lunch at Kenny’s Restaurant.

In closing, let’s all sing together their famous old school advertising jingle!…

“Kenny’s… at the Kam Shopping Center in Kaliheee”

Kenny’s Restaurant
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.
Honolulu, HI

Tasty Island rating:

Supah’ Ono!

10 thoughts on “Kalihi Eats: Kenny's Restaurant

  • July 26, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Beautiful review. I have actually never heard of this place before, probably because I’m almost never in the Kam Shopping Center area. I love your pictures… what kind of camera do you use for your photos? Right now I’m using a Canon SD630 for my blog.

  • July 26, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Dale, I’m also a Canon Powershot user. Specifically an older model A510. Canon is my brand of choice. IMO they have the best lenses and (Digic II) processor. It’s only 3 megapixels, but it’s more than adequate for posting on the web. I Photoshop most photos here down to 500 pixels anyway, unless there’s something detailed that needs to be shown.

    I’d like to get a DSLR Rebel (I hate that name, but the camera is great), but not ready to take that learning curve leap yet.

    For reasons you pointed out, these compact (and discreet) point-and-shooters are the best for food blogging.

    As for Kenny’s, if you don’t know who they are, you’re obviously too young to remember their famous jingle. That’s cool. Now you know!

    Thanks for visiting!

  • July 27, 2007 at 8:09 am


    I grew up right down the street from here and went to elementary school right across the street. I have been here a couple of times within the last 6 months and I was a bit disappointed. I guess maybe it’s because I have so many memories of how it “was”.

  • July 28, 2007 at 4:34 am

    …you made me start singing the jingle! *accusing look* I think I’m old…

  • May 30, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Kenny’s Restaurant,
    I am actually writing for your help and support. My daughter goes to Farrington High School and also plays for the Varsity Softball Team. If you guys haven’t heard yet but Farrington took champs for the OIA White Division this year. So the reason I am writing is that I am in need of your help. Yes, I know you are a restaurant but any donation from you folks would greatly be appreciated. See I thought the school would get involved in helping with a banquet but they are not. If I would of known this I would of been on a mission a long time ago. I have written to the Govenor and also the Mayor asking for some sponsors regarding the Lady Govs Banquet. So now I am asking you for help and support. If you are interested please contact me via email and I will get back at you. Oh but I am planning a banquet for them Sunday June 8,2008 at Monterey Bay Canners. So please let me know what you think!

    Elisapeta To

  • March 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Pomai, now that Hungry Lion is no more I went back to my old stomping ground of Kenny Restaurant. It got a little of everything I want . Not bad along the way from Kamehameha Bakery for some desserts too.

  • March 30, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Now I have more reason to head out that direction to School St. area. Kamehameha Bakery, and Kenny Restaurant. Kenny got something I really like and it Egg Benedict with Canadanian Bacon with smoke turkey and egg and sauce. I heard every Fri. got Hawaiian Food night there too. I rather get my other dessert also at Mcdonald in the Kam Shopping Center area too for to go after done with meal at Kenny.

  • March 30, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Pomai, was thinking where to go for Easter Brunch now I know it Kenny for that Egg Benedict since I live not far away from it

  • August 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

    The worst customer service I’ve ever exsperienced. It was lunch time so it looked pretty full. But me and a good friend of mine was seated quickly. It was my first time there and asked if their was a restroom. So as i was a few steps from the restroom this moke waiter steps in front of me blocking the whole path like I was in the wrong neiborhood says to me very loudly in a rude tone with all the surrounding seated customers listening! because he’s voice.asked me CAN I HELP YOU! And I replyed. Restrooms? He straight forward says it’s for customers only and you can go out side and as I walked away with only saying one word (restroom)he loudly goes on saying that you need to eat here to be Abel to use it and i could go around the corner.as all the customers listening I wounder how that nobody was backing me up. I felt ashamed and humiliated when I walked away as everybody that heard his loud voice looking at me! So I went back to my table didnt even get to even look at the menu and grabbed my friend and said fuck this place! I know what I was going to order already.and me and my friend was looking forward to eating there. And we were really hungry. I have never eatin there and will never eat there after that

  • November 4, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Found out that Asahi Grill taking over this location…..


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