Having taken over the space of my once favorite southern food joint on the island, Kiss My Grits, I stepped into the Nook Neighborhood Bistro with a bit of resistance. All was forgiven, though, once I took my first bite into those mochi waffles. Oh those mochi waffles. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Bill Granger, owner of bills Sydney, has restaurants in Australia, the U.K., and Japan. This Australian celebrity chef opened his first restaurant when he was just 22 years of age. He recently opened a new “bills” restaurant on Oahu, which is the first U.S. location. Dubbed as the “egg master of Sydney” by the New York Times, he has brought his take on “barefoot-from-the-beach” dining concept to the tourist mecca of Hawaii known as Waikiki.
In recent weeks, I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter about Koko Head Cafe through my various social media channels. My first hint of this new cafe came when John Garcia, of NonStop Honolulu fame, posted a sneak-peak photo of the identity and branding design for the new restaurant. Little did I know, Koko Head Cafe’s head chef, Lee Anne Wong, was a contestant on the first season of Bravo’s popular food competition show, Top Chef (I’m more of a Next Food Network Star kind of guy). Wong finished fourth in the competition, with Harold Dieterle winning it all. While the New York born Dieterle went on to open a few restaurants following his win, including the acclaimed The Marrow in New York City, Wong would plant new roots in Hawaii.