Luxury cars, luxury food
On the one hand you have your exotic automobiles — a Lamborghini here, a Maserati there. On the other, some fine Italian food and wine. The twain shall meet at Velocity Honolulu, a high-concept retail-restaurant venture in the soon-to-open Symphony Honolulu condominium tower.
Now, that term — retail-restaurant — might not seem all that revolutionary, until you realize that by retail they're talking very high-end cars and motorcycles.
The JN Group, Honolulu's principal purveyor of fancy cars, plans to add a high-end Italian restaurant to the mix at Velocity, which is principally a vehicle showroom. The restaurant, as well as a more casual cafe and bar, and an enoteca, or wine shop, will join the auto showroom and other retail ventures in the bottom floors of the Symphony tower.
It takes some imagination to wrap your brain around the synergy here. But Brad Nicolai, JN president, says the idea is to capitalize on the artistic merits of both extreme autos and extremely authentic Italian food.
Chef Gianpaolo Raschi, of Guido Ristorante in Rimini, Italy, will be the "signature chef" of the as-yet-unnamed Honolulu restaurant. Guido has earned a Michelin star every year since 2008.
He will be assisted by Maurizio Roberti, an Italian master chef, who will be based in Honolulu while Raschi travels between Italy and Hawaii.
Their menu is in its earliest stages, but both chefs were in town last week scouting local produce and seafood. Guido, a beachside restaurant, centers on seafood and Raschi said his Honolulu menu would do the same.
The auto showroom at Velocity Honolulu is expected to open next month, with other retail components — including a men's shop — planned by the end of the year. The restaurant and cafe are set to open next spring.