As featured in the previous press preview post, on September 18, 2016, Applebee’s will open their first Hawaii location in Ewa Beach on the ever-expanding west side of Oahu. This, making it a milestone for the restaurant chain, now able to say they have locations in all 50 states. On top of that, another Applebee’s location in Kapolei will also open in 2017 at the upcoming Ka Makana Alii Mall.
That said, if you’ve never been to an Applebee’s before, this post is for you, as here you can preview the entire exact (current as of this writing) menu that will greet you at the table at their new Ewa Beach location. Which by-the-way is on Fort Weaver Road in the Ewa Town Center, by Longs and Foodland. Easy to find.
I’ve also sampled a variety of appetizers and entrees while sitting down for lunch with the owners of Applebee’s Ewa Beach restaurant, which I’ll share my first impressions of later in the post.
Check it out…
For some reason I don’t see the “All-in Burgers” above. Here’s that selection:
All burgers include your choice of House Chips, or Classic or BBQ-spiced Fries; add an additional $3.99 for NEW Garlic or Sweet Potato Fries
ALL-DAY BRUNCH BURGER
Seared in: bacon & onion Piled on: fried egg, crispy hash browns, American cheese and ketchup
BEER GARDEN BURGER
Seared in: bacon & onion Piled on: BLUE MOON(R) craft beer cheese, white cheddar, maple mustard, sweet & spicy pickles
THE BLAZIN’ TEXAN
Seared in: Onions and Jalapenos, Piled on: Shredded BBQ Brisket, fresh Jalapenos, Cheddar and our Signature Grill Sauce
Bacon in, bacon on, BBQ bacon ranch & cheddar cheese
THE AMERICAN STANDARD
Pickles, bacon, onion, signature sauce & American cheese.
You might be wondering where the desserts are, which would be located on the back of the Spirits menu. Which seems odd, thinking many folks will miss seeing it as as they browse through every other dish in the main menu . While I didn’t ask why, my thinking is because they stand their menus up on the tables, with the desserts on the back there, you can readily see it that way.
The bosses picked the dishes for the luncheon, starting with a wide variety of appetizers…
Straight out the gate, these Brew Pub pretzels with that beer cheese sauce are WINNAHZ! If there’s any dish that was on the salty side, I’d say this was it, however that’s the nature of a pretzel anyway. But that Cheese Sauce? BAM! I’d be good with just this app’ and a cold Lagunitas (on tap) and call it a day!
This was the most generic “get at any pub” of everything I tried, however FWIW being frozen and fried, it was still decently good, with a subtle yet tasty dusting of herbs and delicate crust, while the melted mozzarella within tasted reasonably “fresh” and had a pleasant chewy ‘n gooey thing goin’ on.
I really liked the crunch on the outside of these boneless wings, while the meat within was super juicy and tender. The classic Buffalo sauce was also spot-on with a nice “twang” goin’ on. Hardcore wing fans can also opt for the bone-in version, which is also on the menu. While I didn’t ask, I’m hoping you get more than 5 wings for that price, and also would appreciate a few wings’ protocol celery sticks to go with it.
OK, these were also ROCKIN’ IT! Whoever cooked them for us knows how to cook shrimp properly, as these were sweet, succulent and juicy, right around medium to medium-done, just how I like it. While that Sriracha Lime Sauce and BBQ spices added a really nice flavor to them that would make even the most demanding Shrimp Cocktail fan such as myself happy. Definitely a considerable option to that dish.
These Wonton Tacos were totally BOMB WON TON DOT COM! The tiny cubes of grilled chicken in it was so juicy and tender, I had to inspect closely to see if it was indeed chicken, and not fish tacos. And the slaw topping it really went well with that crispy fried wonton shell. If they’re not already, more taco joints need to add crispy wonton shells as an option to crispy tortillas. Way better, IMO!
Next up, a few salads…
The Oriental Chicken Salad was excellent as well, especially with the added crunch of the battered and fried chicken tenders vs. the usual plain ‘ole chicken meat. Fans of the dish will definitely like Applebee’s twist on it.
Winner, winner shrimp salad dinner, and definitely a dish I’d consider ordering on a return visit as a healthy option. IIRC, these shrimp were cooked on that wood-fired grill, as it had a subtle smokiness to them. Very nice!
Couple of “All-In Burgers”….
For some reason (likely because we were so busy talking) both these burgers didn’t get passed back to me to try, however I’m not fretting, as these they look too busy for my personal liking, anyway. I’d go for the classic. Keep it simple. As for the sweet potato fries, at $4 extra for them, hopefully more are included on the plate for paying customers.
And the entrees…
Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken: Cedar grilled chicken garnished with Granny Smith apple relish. Topped with lemon olive oil vinaigrette over a blend of cranberries, rice, honey-glazed pecans & quinoa. $13.99
This came across as very light, with some complexity to it. It was good, but not something I’d order.
I don’t know why, but when I tried this, the first thing I thought of was Taco Bell in the way it tasted. Which isn’t a bad thing ,as I LOVE Taco Bell! I think because of the flavor of that Zesty Lime Sauce and “Mexi-Ranch” in combination with the abundance of melted cheese on it, along with the totally “Tex Mex” flavor of seasoned rice it was with. Other than it being chicken, delish!
OK, this one totally caught me by surprise. I LOVED THIS! It’s a rather strange build, kinda’ like one of them KFC bowls, which BTW, have never tried. Over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, there’s a layer of thin-cut chicken that’s battered and fried, then directly on top of that a thick layer of melted cheddar, then totally smothered in their Stout Gravy; the latter of which is SO GOOD!
I swear that Stout Gravy is just begging to be “Loco Moco’fied”. lol Top that off with tasty Onion Rings and BAM! While this was definitely saltier entrees on the spread, its well-matched complexity and boldness made it absolutely DELISH!
Saving the best for last, we have two dishes from their Wood Fired Grill section, featuring American Oak wood as the source of the flame. Which imparts a subtle smokey tone, not being as potentially overbearing as Hickory or Mesquite (Kiawe).
While the Choice grade top sirloin beef can’t compare to a ribeye T-bone in tenderness and flavor, it’s a decent cut, and certainly won’t break the banks at under $20 for the dish. Not bad, especially considering there’s also shrimp on there. I didn’t get enough of that bacon Jam on the thick slice I cut for myself to try so can’t comment on that. But I’ll bet it rocks! I’ll need to try an entire plate of this steak in a future visit to give an honest opinion (wink wink), however the cut I tasted was certainly a nice nightcap to the meal!
And finally also from the Wood Fired Grill section, we have their new Bone-In Pork Chop, and this buggah was cut thick; about 1″ to be exact. It was honestly cooked more done than I’d like — around well done — however even with that, it was reasonably tender and slightly juicy. What rocked of course were those smoke-laced seared grill markings — and the pièce de résistance — that Apple Chutney and Maple Butter smothering it. Oh yeah! The contrast of fruity-sweet ‘n sour, along with what I could taste a lacing of cinnamon, really brought out the awesomeness of that thick slice of grilled pork. If you order this, make sure to tell them to cook it no more than medium, and it will rock your maple buttered grilled pork world. ;-)
No desserts were offered, however I was stuffed anyway, so that didn’t bother me. I actually ended up taking a “doggie bag” home of several entrees, which I highly enjoyed later that evening for dinner. Back to dessert, when I do return, I’m definitely trying that Cracker Jack Banana Cheesecake!
My overall first impression of the food ranges from favorable to absolutely delicious! I must say though, if I had chosen the dishes, I would certainly scale back on the chicken, as I was kinda’ “Chickened Out”. lol Still, they capped it off with that excellent Oak Wood fire-grilled shrimp ‘n steak and thick-cut bone-in pork chop, which made me a VERY happy camper. ;-)
For the most part the portions are generous, where unless you’re both really starving, most dishes could be shared by two adults if you were in a pinch. And even there, the prices seem reasonable enough to take the family out on special occasions, or even to go during your work time lunch hour.
Regardless of the nutritional numbers that state otherwise, most of the what must be noted are scratch made dishes (except for a few of the apps) seemed “normal” to me, not tasting overly salty or unbearably rich. And I’m VERY sensitive to salty and fat-saturated, heavy foods, so I would know.
The success of the Ewa restaurant will rely of course as much on the service as the food, as most of the Applebee’s locations on the mainland I checked out on Yelp got their numerous negative reviews primarily because of service. Hawaii has a big advantage over the mainland locations in that regard, and that’s the “Aloha Spirit Factor”, so hopefully that will convey in your experience dining there.
The food and price point here is definitely in it to win it as far as I’m concerned, as is the physical build-out of the restaurant; it’s gorgeous.
Here’s to great success of the new Applebee’s in Ewa!
What? Applebee’s in Ewa Beach
Where? 91-1401 Fort Weaver Road, in the Ewa Town Center (by Longs & Foodland)
When? Grand Opening on Sunday, September 18, 2016
Hours? You jus’ come on down, ‘dey stay. ‘Dey no stay, dey not he’ah! OK? OK. lol
Sunday thru Thursday 11am to Midnight, Friday & Saturday 11am to 1am
• First Applebee’s in Hawaii, making it a milestone for the chain, now having a location in every state
• Over 2000 Applebee’s locations in the US, Guam, Puerto Rico and 15 countries
• Ewa Beach location brings 136 new jobs to the local economy
• Ewa Beach restaurant seats 128 guests in its 3,500 square feet (total) space
• First month of operation will focus on raising money for Make-A-Wish Hawaii
• 90% of the menu items are available at all Applebee’s restaurants; regional menu items specific to the Hawaii market will be added in the near future
• Applebee’s is franchised by subsidiaries of DineEquity, Inc (NYSE: DIN), who also operate iHop restaurants in Hawaii