By Richard Melendez, Digital Editor
Being the most isolated island chain in the world has many, many ups, there are some downs, too. Among them is missing out on some of the shops and restaurants that the mainland takes for granted. I can’t tell you how many locals long for brands like IKEA, Chipotle and Olive Garden to make their way here to the islands. If and when our favorites do arrive, it’s a cause for celebration. It was a huge deal when Costco opened in Hawai‘i back in 1988, and the opening of popular Japanese discount chain, Daiso, was a cause for long lines and much fanfare when it arrived late last year. The 2017 arrival (or actually, return) of Dunkin’ Donuts to the islands was a spiritual moment for yours truly.
The other side of the coin is when Hawai‘i brands find a home on the mainland. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue successfully brought the plate lunch to the masses, and now has dozens of franchises in the U.S. and the Pacific Rim. Another eatery, Zippy’s, just announced the future site of a Vegas restaurant, their first outside Hawai‘i, while Honolulu Cookie Company just opened their third Vegas storefront, joining locations in Hawai‘i and Guam.
There’s a certain sense of pride when local brands make their way to other shores and thrive. Part of it is kinda like watching a close friend move away and hit the big time—you like seeing your loved ones “make it.” But I think that pride is mostly about being able to share something we enjoy with the rest of the world. Call it the aloha spirit, or call it just basic generosity. You gave us Dunkin’ Donuts, and we give you the loco moco. That’s a fair trade, I’d say.
(Pro tip: Order that loco moco with “gravy all over”; you won’t be disappointed).