Onolicious Hawaii opens brick and mortar at Court Street Plaza

Outside of Onolicious

Photograph by Henri Robbins

northEarly 4,000 miles from Honolulu, Cincinnati’s taste of Hawaiian cuisine is expanding into a full dine-in restaurant experience.

Formerly located in an Oakley Kitchen booth, Onolicious Hawaii opened a physical location just off Court Street Plaza on Walnut Street on May 23. Standing out against the brown brick of the plaza, the restaurant’s color-striped exterior reflects the ubiquitous island style. brilliant beachside culture.

Steel tables and chairs painted in vibrant primary and secondary colors dot the floor, window seat stools have been replaced with rope swings, and silhouettes of tropical animals and iconography line the walls. There is not a single square inch of the restaurant that has been left untouched.

Sitting at a vibrant green table, a QR code points to the restaurant’s online menu and ordering system, which replaces the usual face-to-face ordering. While this system simplifies ordering and allows for faster turnaround (if you’re buying something for your lunch break, you can save the URL and place an order before you leave), you can still place your order at the counter, and the system is not a barrier to extremely friendly service.

What Onolicious calls the “soul food of the Pacific” cultivates a great flavor profile: warm, comforting, and relaxed – it’s definitely an easy place to stop by for a quick and filling lunch.

The Shoyu Chicken dish, seen here with a side of home fries, is Amish boneless chicken thighs braised in Aloha Shoyu, garlic and ginger.

Photograph by Henri Robbins

Most of the dishes consist of one meat, two balls of white rice, and a side dish. Meats have options like pulled pork, marinated chicken, beef, and spam, while sides include macaroni, potato, and papaya salads along with house fries. The restaurant’s selection is heavily focused on sustainability, says owner Vincente Benedett.

“We buy organic and local whenever possible, recycle, and waste almost no food because we use our vegetable scraps to make stock,” says Benedett. “I think the best thing we do is make our own organic mayonnaise, because we make a lot of macaroni salad and potato salad with it, and we’re cutting plastic waste big time.”

Outdoor Seating by Onolicious

Photograph by Henri Robbins

What we tried seemed simple enough, but it turned out to be full of flavor. Onolicious has refined classic Hawaiian dishes, creating flavor profiles with everything you need, but nothing strange or distracting. Starting with such a maximum restaurant look, the minimal presentation worked perfectly: the meats were well seasoned, the rice was soft, and the fries were crispy and freshly fried, and delicious.

Benedett says that opening the location is a great opportunity and the response from the community has been fantastic just days after its grand opening. For Benedett, the restaurant is an extension of his own family history.

“Our family is from Oahu and many of these recipes go back generations,” says Benedett. “We had to make adjustments to produce gigantic amounts of food, but these adjustments have actually made the recipes better than they already were.”

Although Onolicius just opened the new location, they are already planning their next business moves. Benedett said they have plans to cater weddings and luaus, experiment with multiple new recipes, including chicken coconut French toast and matcha mochi waffles, and a retail venture for bottled sauces in the future. Ultimately, this comes together to emphasize the power of good food.

“The best part of a good Hawaiian restaurant is that when you’re having a bad day, you walk in and feel the aloha,” says Benedett. “We can change your day with some great flavors and awesome vibes.”

onolicious Hawaii, 1005 Walnut St., Downtown, (513) 386-7404

Photo by Henri Robbins