Who’s your Daddy O’s

  • John Steinhorst/The Garden Island
    Server, Pancha Cedillo, provides service with a smile at Daddy O's Restaurant.
  • John Steinhorst/The Garden Island
    The Lihue restaurant offers a colorful breakfast with fresh fruit on French toast and pancakes.
  • John Steinhorst/The Garden Island
    Daddy O's Restaurant owner, Harry Shigekane, delivers plates to hungry customers.

LIHUE — This man knows how to fly a helicopter, bowl a perfect game and catch a one-ton marlin.

Harry Shigekane does nearly everything, including feeding the community as a skilled chef.

As owner of Daddy O’s Restaurant, Shigekane, along with his wife Carole, takes pride in quality cuisine and exceptional service.

“I’m a foodie basically,” Shigekane said. “I like food. It’s always been like a hobby.”

Opened since March 2016 in Lihue’s Rice Shopping Center, the restaurant offers tasty food and sizable portions.

“There is a definite need for breakfast,” Shigekane said. “We are at maximum capacity right now.”

The popular restaurant presents delicious local favorites in a casual friendly atmosphere, for breakfast, lunch, bentos, take out and catering.

“First I concentrate on the local food, and basically my philosophy is don’t reinvent the wheel,” Shigekane said. “If somebody’s doing something really well, copy and make it better, because it’s already proven. So that’s what we do, our dishes reflect that.”

A Vietnam veteran recognized with 27 air medals for heroic acts, Shigekane built the restaurant from the ground up in the mall where Lihue Pet Shop occupied the previous retail space. He spent more than $300,000 to renovate the space and purchase equipment.

“Everything’s brand new in here,” Shigekane said. “The floors are new, the walls are new, the ceilings are new, new electrical, new plumbing, new everything. All our equipment is brand spanking new.”

When he first came to Kauai in 1973, Shigekane crop dusted for sugar plantations, then started helicopter flight-seeing operations. Later, he opened Kino Burgers, serving burgers and plate lunches on the South Shore, and a bakery, Kauai Cinnamons, which each operated for five years during the 80s. Now he runs a sport fishing charter, Action Plus Adventures, on his boat, the Happy Hunter, that provides fish for his restaurant.

“Whatever we catch, we serve,” Shigekane said, “because I can’t afford to buy fresh fish, not for the prices that we sell it for. So, we get a jump on everybody else, because we’re the source.”

They receive their fresh produce from Nophadom “Nap” Seechachet of O.K. King Farms on the edge of Lihue town.

“He’s expensive, but it’s fresh,” Shigekane said. “His stuff I know was picked yesterday. For us it’s about the quality of the food.”

Daddy O’s is open for dinner to private parties for up to 50 people and can cook anything requested.

“At night I do fine dining, reservations only with a minimum of four, but it’s really pricey,” Shigekane said. “It’s 150 dollars a head.”

“My Japanese Wagyu costs me a hundred bucks a pound,” he added.

Whenever he buys his beef, it’s certified authentic with the highest grading and marble scoring.

“For fine dining, I start off with sushi, because that’s my forte,” he said. “For sushi appetizers, I have king crab, I have sashimi, I do prime rib, I do rack of lamb, I do dry-age pork chop. All those items you don’t pick and chose, you get to eat everything.”

For dessert, he prepares bananas foster right at the table. For breakfast, plates include loco moco, omelettes and stuffed French toast, ranging from $5 to $15. Lunch features oxtail soup, salads and sandwiches ranging from $12 to $25.

“The kitchen is wide open, we don’t hide anything,” Shigekane said. “So it’s gotta be spotless back there.”

“For me a restaurant’s first criteria, it’s got to be clean,” he added. “People pick up on that immediately.”

The restaurant employs about 10 people on staff for quality service. The line cooks receive daily bonuses depending on the number of plates they serve. After they hit his goal in gross sales for the month, he decided to reward the crew with a trip to Las Vegas for a week in December.

Word of mouth keeps people coming, and regular customers even get coffee mugs with their name.

“It took a while to get to this point,” Shigekane said. “Everything is running like a smooth machine right now.”

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