Top 10: Restaurant chains Hawaii needs


Photo credit: Tara Lujan

By Chantelle Aguilar, Staff Writer

Although Hawaii is 3,000-plus miles away from the continental U.S., it has managed to bring in some big chain mainland restaurants like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Burger King and others. Luckily, these food chains exist in Hawaii — but local residents want more. Here are the Top 10 restaurant chains Hawaii needs now.

  1. In-N-Out

Move over McDonald’s, In-N-Out is not a typical burger joint. It allows you to customize the meal with some tasty toppings. Order “animal style,” which means that pickles, extra spread, grilled onions and mustard will be fried on top of the meat patty and fries. Don’t try to search the menu for it because it’s part of the “secret menu” circulated amongst customers.

  1. Chipotle

Hawaii is behind with Mexican eateries and could use a Chipotle or two. Fresh and non-GMO ingredients, as well as quality meat, are what Chipotle is all about. A healthy Mexican joint packed with flavor, the menu is simple: burrito, taco, or bowl. You, the customer, are in full charge of what goes in and what stays out of your dish like cilantro-lime rice, fajita veggies, guacamole and an array of sauces — simple and tasty.

  1. Sonic

Sonic is unlike any food joint in Hawaii because of these two reasons: 1) Customers don’t have to get out of the car; servers will roller skate to your vehicle to take and deliver your order and; 2) The food is delicious. A wide selection of burgers, hot dogs and sides are offered. Don’t forger to order a specialty drink from 1.3 million combinations available like the Blue Coconut Slush.

  1. Chick-fil-A

Specializing in chicken sandwiches, wraps and sides, Chick-fil-A satisfies the cravings of all chicken lovers. The breakfast options are also a hit with biscuit sandwiches and gourmet platters. Chick-fil-A is perfect for the family as it serves crowd favorites like chicken biscuit sandwiches, chicken wraps and chicken tenders in party trays. This is perfect for the ohana!

  1. Red Robin

One reason to love Red Robin is for it’s bottomless fries. A casual diner offering some of America’s favorite foods and gourmet burgers like the Whiskey River BBQ, Bleu Ribbon and the California Chicken bring customers back for more. Delicious appetizers are also offered as low as $3, which is perfect for those on a budget and an empty stomach.

  1. Olive Garden

A handful of Italian restaurants exist throughout the islands, but none are up to par with Olive Garden. The opportunities are endless with dishes like chicken marsala, shrimp carbonara, five cheese ziti and more. Each entrée is served with a side order of house salad or soup of your choice. Nothing beats exceptional Italian cuisine for the fraction of the price. Hawaii residents stay tuned for the first Olive Garden to open soon in Kapolei.

  1. Five Guys

Burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and don’t forget the hand-cut fries fried to perfection in peanut oil. Customers are able to choose as many toppings to top their dishes such as pickles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, A.1 Steak Sauce and more at no extra cost. The hype is real with Five Guys. Hawaii residents will see a Five Guys in Hawaii soon as it is scouting the island for possible locations. Can I get a bacon cheeseburger with everything please?

  1. Panera Bread

Panera Bread is a bakery and café — the perfect combination on any day. You don’t get that here in Hawaii. With a wide menu of flatbreads, sandwiches, pasta, salad and soups, there is something for everyone. Savory and sweet baked goods are made fresh daily. Panera is a popular place to eat from open to closing.

  1. White Castle

White Castle is known for its small square-shaped burgers. What’s unique about this joint is that you can order by the sack or in big numbers by the crate. Islanders have no choice but to settle for the packaged White Castle sliders offered in the frozen foods section at the grocery story, but lets keep our fingers crossed and hope a location will open up soon in Hawaii.

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is known worldwide for its doughnuts and coffee. There was once a location in Pearl City, Hawaii, until it closed in 1995. Glazed, jelly filled, and dipped in concoctions like powdered sugar or cinnamon — DD is perfect for any sweet tooth. Don’t worry, it’s not all doughnuts and coffee, sandwiches and other dishes are also served. Bring Dunkin’ back!