Tiki Iniki featured on Food Network

  • Contributed

    Rock superstar Todd Rundgren (in chair) and wife Michele Rundgren, front right, are joined by staff at Tiki Iniki in Princeville Shopping Center.

PRINCEVILLE — Michele Rundgren is used to show business.

Whether it’s touring with her band the “Intoxicats” or dealing with her husband Todd Rundgren’s busy touring schedule, she’s used to life on the road and the chaos that comes with it.

So she was ready when Food Network called her on a Saturday in March asking to feature her restaurant Tiki Iniki on Guy Fieri’s show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” — in an episode that’s airing tonight.

They gave her two days’ notice to get the place sparking for its close-up; that amounted to deep cleaning and organizing, alongside prepping ingredients and the kitchen.

“Yikes! They want everything sparkling (and) we pulled it off,” Rundgren said on Thursday, looking back on the March taping of their episode. “It was a blast!”

Rundgren knew of the popular TV show before she got a call from the network; it’s a show that features “greasy spoon” eateries across America, hosted by the colorful Guy Fieri. It first aired in 2006.

So she and the team were excited when they made it through the rounds of vetting with the network and were able to welcome the filming crew to Tiki Iniki in Princeville, complete with one of Fieri’s classic cars which he shipped over from the mainland for taping.

“Todd happened to be in town, so he was able to be there, too,” Rundgren said. “He (Feiri) is all about cars and guitars, so I thought we’d get into music but it was mostly about the restaurant.”

Before the taping, Tiki Iniki had to send in recipes for their best dishes, something that Rundgren said she knows was difficult for their chef. They chose to feature Tiki Iniki’s burger, ribs, pork loin, the shrimp rangoon and the katafi shrimp with their special sauce.

“They put the recipes on their website,” Rundgren said.

Typically, the network requests three days’ worth of time for taping, but was able to get done in a little more than a day, and with a little time to spare, the crew was able to sit down and eat.

“That’s unusual, I think,” Rundgren said. “We’re in the industry, though, so we understand how it works.”

According to the show’s statistics, restaurants featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” boost their business by three to five times the amount of customers.

“That stays up there, too,” Rundgren said. “We’re expanding, getting ready. We’re already busy.”

Todd Rundgren is a professional musician, singer and songwriter and has played with several bands, including Utopia and The New Cars, and has toured with Ringo Starr.

While Rundgren and the crew had to close the restaurant for the taping, they’re leaving the doors open for the watch party tonight. It’ll be crowded though, as employees and their families are already planning to hit up Tiki Iniki for the showing.

The episode airs at 6 p.m. and at 9 p.m. on the Food Network.

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Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

4 Comments
  1. David Yager July 12, 2019 11:10 am Reply

    No Spam dishes?

    Spam, wonderful Spam!


    1. Yes! July 14, 2019 3:24 pm Reply

      There was a spam dish in the episode.


  2. harryoyama July 14, 2019 4:22 am Reply

    Just another white-washed contamination of Hawaii’s culture viewed under the eyes of non-locals whose culture is prostituted for profit by TV network that many viewers think its the “truth”.


    1. Did you watch it? July 16, 2019 11:18 am Reply

      In the episode the clearly stated it was a throwback to the 1950’s vibe… It was fun-spirited and hardly an attempt to be a genuine historically accurate BAR from ancient Hawaii…


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