A Grand Relaunch
When Grand Cafe & Bakery first opened in 1923, it faced closure after a few years. Fast forward three generations to 2005, when the cafe was resurrected by owners Patsy Izumo and the original owner’s granddaughter, Mona Chang Vierra. Alas, the cafe closed last year. But as of January 13, Grand Cafe & Bakery has reopened its doors yet again, having found a new home in the spot vacated by Ed Kenney’s Downtown restaurant within the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM).
Mention the cafe’s name and folks will remember famous, made-from-scratch, corned-beef hash ($12.95), fresh-baked croissants ($2.85) and decadent island Bananas Foster french toast ($12.25). Along with these, other breakfast and lunch dishes are offered, but with a twist. “At HiSAM, we’re putting a contemporary spin on the classic items. Our foods will have more fresh herbs and local produce,” explains executive chef and Vierra’s son, Anthony. “We go through MAO Farms, whatever we can get from ‘Nalo Farms and a lot . . . from Chinatown, like Yok Market,” he adds.
A new to-go option is the “Take Me Along” sandwich menu. Funky names abound, seen with the Sorry Charlie tuna, OMGV veggie, Fowl Play chicken and Wilbur’s Last Stand ham and cheese sandwiches ($6.95 each). Lunch items also include salads, soups and classics from the good ol’ location days, such as cola-braised short ribs ($16.25) and pasta primavera ($12.75).
“We were asked to open [at HiSAM] five years ago,” Vierra explains. “Now we’re [here] and we have a lot of things planned for the future.” Ideas include catering, banquets in the mezzanine, weddings and special events for First Fridays, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. Grand Cafe is most definitely back in business.Grand Cafe & Bakery, Hawaii State Art Museum, 250 S. Hotel St., open Mon.–Fri., 7:30–10:30am, 11am–2pm; Sun., 8am–1:30pm; night events 5:30–7:30pm; BYOB, $15 corkage fee, [facebook.com], 531-0001