Kyle Nakayama

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - September 17, 2008
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Get ready to do that voodoo that you do so well, and help Hawaii Meals on Wheels reach its goal of dishing out 1,000 more meals per month to Hawaii’s homebound community members.

The not-for-profit organization is once again holding its fundraiser gala - this year’s theme goes all out with a Mardi Gras-style celebration - and for the second time in a row, the not-to-be-missed extravaganza will be at The Willows. Kyle Nakayama, managing director of the restaurant, is the man behind the scenes making sure all goes smoothly.

“I’m just trying not to get in the way of the HMoW committee!” the Kailua-bred boy jokes before adding in seriousness, “They did such a great job last year, and they’re just running with it again this year and are putting together an amazing evening - it really is one of the highlights of The Willows’ year!”

Nakayama first contacted HMoW two years ago after hearing only positive things about the program and its services from a close friend. He quickly got in touch with Claire Shimabukuro, executive director of HMoW, and after a ride along with Shimabukuro, he says, “it was one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life.”

Nakayama also tries to make The Willows and its sister property, Luana Hills Country Club in Kailua, a haven where organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, KAMP Hawaii, Goodwill Industries Hawaii, the Great Aloha Run and Lokahi Tree can go to host fundraisers of their own.

When he’s not busy with the restaurants or with charities, Nakayama spends most of his spare time with his wife of six years, Lauren, and their sons Jordan, 3, and Brennan, 9 months. Then there are tee times at Luana Hills and watching UH football and basketball games.

Speaking of UH sports, head football coach Greg McMackin joins Nakayama for Fete Fantastique from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 25 at The Willows Restaurant, 901 Hausten St. in Mo’ili’ili.They’ll be serving it up like they do down in N’Awlins with casino games, palm readers, wine and cocktail tasting stations, live jazz music and a Creole-inspired menu. There’s even the chance to take home a special treat from the silent auction.

Individual tickets cost $150, and table sponsorship is available at $2,000 for Green Tables, $4,000 Gold Tables. Call 988-6747 or visit to purchase a place. Donations for the silent auction are still being accepted; go online for a full list of details.

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