Chew on This

New Waikiki hot spot lures thousands

August 31st, 2016

The redeveloped International Market Place opened in Waikiki this week with thousands of kamaaina and visitors checking out the long-awaited event. All photos by Erika Engle.

A conch shell blower, a Hawaiian chant and speeches by elected- and company officials launched the new IMP.

A conch shell blower, a Hawaiian chant and speeches by elected- and company officials launched the new IMP.

Naturally there were speeches by elected officials and executives with the center's developer, Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc.

What the crowd was eagerly anticipating, was the doors of about half of the 90 shops and three completed restaurants to open.

Kona Coffee Purveyors, with San Francisco-based b.patisserie inside, had vigorous business on opening day. Photo by Erika Engle.

Kona Coffee Purveyors, with San Francisco-based b.patisserie inside, had vigorous business on opening day.

Belinda Leong, James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef and co-owner of b.patisserie, prepares her famed Kouign-amann pastries for baking. Photo by Erika Engle.

Belinda Leong, James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef and co-owner of b.patisserie, prepares her famed Kouign-amann pastries for baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honolulu Cookie Co. had a long line of people awaiting the opening of the doors to its shop, which offers free taste-before-you-buy samples of its various baked-in-Hawaii cookie flavors.

New-to-Hawaii candy store Sugarfina, also brightly and cheerfully lit, was packed with people perusing the shop's sweets, many of which are whimsical and geared toward grown-up tastes.

These candy-coated almonds made to look like martini olives. Photo by Erika Engle.

These chocolate-coated almonds are made to look like martini olives.

The shop offers a large assortment of gummies in various flavors. hoto by Erika Engle.

The shop offers a large assortment of gummies in various flavors.

The Cuba libre gummies, taking their inspiration from a rum and cola beverage, are another grown-up-themed candy selection.

The Cuba libre gummies, taking their inspiration from a rum and cola beverage, are another grown-up-themed candy selection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also on the ground floor, a billboard relays a promise of things yet-to-come. The Street, curated by Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Michael Mina and his team, is set to open in the Spring. Among its more than one dozen dining options will be the Ramen Bar, by chef Ken Tominaga. Tominaga and Mina are partners in Pabu, a popular San Francisco izakaya. The Ramen Bar, which serves Tokyo-style ramen right next door to Pabu, in the city's financial district.

The Street, a food hall concept with more than one dozen casual dining options, is to open in the Spring.

The Street, a food hall concept with more than one dozen casual dining options, is to open in the Spring.

On the third floor Grand Lanai, Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, and Stripsteak, by Mina, were ready to open on the first day of IMP's new life. By 11:15 a.m., the Eating House bar was full, and many of the tables also were full of eager diners.

One view of the large bar at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, in Waikiki.

One view of the large bar at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, in Waikiki.

The Eating House kitchen was bustling with Executive Chef Mike Leslie calling out orders and cooks churning out orders.

Executive Chef Mike Leslie works on an order with a red-bandanna-wearing crew member.

Executive Chef Mike Leslie works on an order with a red-bandanna-wearing crew member.

A line formed outside Stripsteak as local people sought to try the famed cuisine by an award-winning chef.

On the market place's opening day, local people and visitors got to try award-winning chef Michael Mina's menu, as prepared by Mina and Executive Chef Ben Jenkins.

On the market place's opening day, local people and visitors got to try award-winning chef Michael Mina's menu, as prepared by Mina and Executive Chef Ben Jenkins.

Smartly dressed Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio was ready for a busy day with sensible, yet whimsical footwear, for which he is known.

Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio is known for his shoe collection, which includes these hula-girl festooned sneakers.

Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio is known for his shoe collection, which includes these hula-girl festooned sneakers.

The expansive International Market Place spans nearly six acres, with stores and restaurants on three levels. Touch-screen directories offer helpful navigational guidance, if you'd like to formulate a plan before heading in to Waikiki.

 IMP's large directories are interactive, with touch-screen technology that also allows for scrolling to the desired information.

IMP's large directories are interactive, with touch-screen technology that also allows for scrolling to the desired information.

More restaurants will open on the Grand Lanai in the coming weeks, and additional retailers also will be opening as time progresses. The International Market Place offers 700 parking stalls, and validated parking, though depending on how long you're there, you may still have to use your plastic in order to exit.

 

 

 

 

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