Surf, Sun And Great Food

By Bill Terry
Wednesday - January 27, 2010
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By Bill Terry
Vice President, Hawaii Operations of T S Restaurants Hawaii

Treating customers like family has been our philosophy since 1977. T S Restaurant founders Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten were college buddies who shared a passion for surf, sand, sun and restaurants. The two built their company on four key principles: to open restaurants only on the finest real estate locations in resort destinations in which they would like to live, work and play; develop restaurant concepts for specific markets, reflect the culture and environment through menus and décor; take great care of management through ownership opportunities; and show respect for employees. These simple principles have proven to be the prefect recipe for success.

Since opening our first restaurant, Kimo’s in Lahaina, Maui, we have grown to 14 establishments spanning Hawaii and California. We recently celebrated the grand opening our newest addition, Duke’s Beach House on North Beach Kaanapali, which joins the ranks of the eight other Hawaii restaurants, including Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu, Duke’s on Kauai, and Leilani’s on the Beach on Maui.

Each of our restaurants has a distinct ambiance and environment that creates a unique sense of place. For example, Duke’s Beach House is a place where the restaurant’s namesake, Duke Kahanamoku, would have wanted to spend his time with décor that incorporates both modern and traditional elements, as well as a color scheme that captures Duke’s passion for the ocean. Kimo’s displays Lahaina’s whaling and missionary heritage with the main dining room reflecting the architectural influence of New England on the former whaling port, featuring koa-lined walls, missionary-style furnishings and maritime memorabilia. Hula Grill Waikiki is reminiscent of a 1930s Hawaiian waterfront home with interior furnishings of lava rock planters, wainscoted entry-ways adorned with lush gardens, and nostalgic lauhala lined ceilings.

The executive chefs at each restaurant also strive to incorporate local products into their culinary creations. Menu items feature Big Island goat cheese, Hamakua tomatoes, locally grown salad greens and fruit, fresh island fish and so much more.

(from left) Ross Anderson, senior GM of Duke’s Waikiki; Ron LaClergue, Maui regional manager, and Bill Perry, VP T S Restaurants Hawaii at the Duke’s Beach

Each restaurant offers us with the opportunity to engage with our customers. As such, we support our local community by providing recognition of individuals who perpetuate the Aloha Spirit. Duke’s Waikiki’s Ho’okahiko Award and Hula Grill Waikiki’s I Ola mau ka Hula recognize individuals for their dedication and contribution to perpetuating Hawaiian culture and tradition.

Community service has been an important aspect of T S Restaurant’s core values, with the belief that each restaurant should individually give back to its surrounding community supports. Among the restaurants’ community programs are educator recognition, police officer and lifeguard of the month, and Duke’s Legacy of Aloha charitable donation program. As a result, over 30-plus years T S Restaurants has donated more that $20 million to neighborhood communities.

T S Restaurants continues to grow as a company, and most of all a family, remembering the core values and principles on which we were founded. Nearly 35 years later, our brand still lives up to every expectation set by Rob and Sandy.


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