LIHUE — Rob Silverman loves what he does.
Because you can find him, six days a week, working at Rob’s Good Times Grill.
Now, he doesn’t really have to be there. He owns the place, after all. He could drop in every now and then, check on things, and then go off and enjoy island life.
But he happens to like it there. The people, the place, the atmosphere.
“Imagine in the whole world if everybody did what they love to do every day,” he said during an interview with TGI while hosting a fundraiser for Relay for Life outside his front door. “Things would get done. You know what I mean? If everybody did that every day, imagine what would happen. These would be good times.”
Such times have been going on at Rob’s for 26 years. That’s how long he’s been running the restaurant and bar after moving to Kauai from Arizona, where he also worked in the food and drink business.
Today he and wife Lolly employ about 50 people — many have been there more than a decade — at the popular spot that has long been a hangout for locals who enjoy the dark, cool environment, the many big screen TVs on every wall, and a fun, festive feeling.
Sunday breakfast during the NFL season can be a bit of a madhouse, but it’s a blast with all the cheering — as long as your team is winning.
Rob’s Good Times Grill is at 4303 Rice Street, in the Rice Shopping Center. The kitchen opens at 11 a.m.
If you need a reason to stop in, consider that happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m.Wednesday night features a crab dinner and Fridays features a 12-ounce rib eye steak.
Rob’s is especially popular on those summer days when the heat and humidity are rising and you’re seeking somewhere to relax and feel the air conditioning.
Folks meet over lunch, perhaps a classic burger for $12.50 or a Philly Steak and Cheese sandwich for $14.25, have one of the many cold beers on tap or in bottles, and talk story. The daily special is always in demand, such as Tuesday’s, an ahi wrap with lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, avocado, wasabi, aioli and brown rice, with fries for $15.
The dessert was macadamia nut brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and whip cream for $8.
Tables and bar seats were filled, there was a casual buzz in the air, and one can sense things here were on the friendly side. The sign outside says, “Come on in and seat yourself.” No waiting around for a hostess. Just walk in, grab a table, plop down. It’s likely you’ll see someone you know, if you’re a regular, and there will be a big smile and wave. And if you’re not a regular, you’ll probably become one after stopping in
That’s how Rob Silverman wants it. A welcoming, inviting spot, good food, good prices, good times.
It’s why he’s there almost every day. Again, not because he necessarily has to be. Because he wants to be.
“It’s not like coming to work,” he said. “It’s great. My staff is awesome.”
Silverman is a friendly sort, himself. He always seems to be chatting, smiling, visiting with customers, helping in the community. Many, he greets like family. And it’s why, for years, he’s hosted the Relay For Life fundraiser on St. Patrick’s Day, which this year saw a dunk tank, games for keiki, and lots of green to wear. His corned beef and cabbage, by the way, is legendary.
“It’s just a great cause,” he said. “Everybody is touched by cancer, one way or another. It just works for me and I like to work with them.”
He likes seeing friends, new and old, wander in. It’s then he gets a chance to chat and find out what’s happening.
“Being part of the community of Kauai is the best thing,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. I just enjoy it.”
The backbone of the business really isn’t the building or the seafood, soups, salads and combos on the menu. It’s not really even a professional staff. It’s not the cold beer.
It’s being passionate about what you do. That’s what drives Rob’s Good Times Grill.
“When you love what you do, success comes a lot easier,” he said. “You don’t do it for the dollar every day. You do it for what you do.
“Some people might call it a labor of love and really, that’s what it is,” Silverman said. “ You come in and enjoy it. The success comes when you enjoy what you do every day.”