Let’s be clear. Honolulu isn’t Hollywood or New York, but we still have our share of “power lunches.” If seated at the right table at the right restaurant, you may be privy to a groundbreaking business deal, covert job interview or a political power play. Grab lunch at one of these hot spots and you may find yourself shaking hands with a big name or two, in between bites.
Little Village Noodle House
A staple in the business lunch scene since it opened in 2001, this Chinatown mainstay offers an inviting atmosphere where you won’t feel guilty about expensing your meal. Many of the workers have been here since the restaurant opened and know how to get customers in and out during the lunch rush.
Two words: belly bowl. Lucky Belly is a great place to take clients for mouth-watering ramen in a modern atmosphere that’s sure to impress your client. If you don’t have a reservation for your group, make plans to come early or drop by late, it’ll also ensure that the acoustics are just right.
Nothing beats a classic. Business deals have been going down here over pints of Guinness for years. One of the long-time bartenders is also a freelance writer, so a conversation with him could go from talk story to an actual story if you pitch him right. Be warned, Red Sox fans are better off going across the street.
As a members-only establishment, the Pacific Club is a convenient spot for countless meetings and business events. A quiet and exclusive seating area attracts high-powered, high rollers and hungry, up-and-comers.
Sometimes you need to get out of downtown. This modern, open-kitchen features dishes by chefs Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, a husband and wife team who were protégés of Alan Wong. The cuisine at this award-winning hot spot will taste even better if your company picks up the tab.
Zippy’s, Vineyard & Dillingham
I know what you’re thinking: Zippy’s? Trust me. At downtown Zippy’s you’ll find everyone eating lunch, from the CEO to the company janitor. It’s a good bet you’ll run into someone you know or know of, so bring your business cards and make sure you don’t have chili in your teeth.
Steve T. Yeti is the ambassador of Real Jobs Hawaii, a free, online recruitment portal for Hawaii employers and job seekers. If you have confidence in your LinkedIn profile picture and ready for your dream job, go to realjobshawaii.com.