Soulful Aloha And Spice Mix It Up At Kaimuki Restaurant

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - June 02, 2010
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Chef Sean Priester’s new eatery SOUL opened last month on Waialae Avenue, serving a fusion of Southern-style soul food mixed with Pacific Rim flavors. Photo by Sarah Pacheco, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Fans of Sean Priester’s “cuisine with aloha and spice"no longer need to chase after his lunch wagon to get their fix of fried chicken, barbecued spare ribs and Carolina pulled-pork adobo.

The chef opened restaurant SOUL last month at 3040 Waialae Ave. (next to the Fat Greek), and so far business has been cookin’.

“For a start-up business and for the number of customers I’ve got coming through the door, I think I’m doing really well,” said Priester. “I have a pretty nice fan base from the Soul Patrol (lunch wagon) and Chef Sean brand that I’ve used at the farmers markets, so the combination of those things has brought people in.

I think the combination of the time that I’ve spent branding myself has been really supportive of our opening.”


Priester left his position as Top of Waikiki chef last year to focus on the Chef Sean brand and his company, Pacific Soul Cuisine.

“My primary pursuit has been to establish myself as a great chef in the genre of Pacific Rim and cuisines that I can bring together,” he said, and the menu confirms that: a fusion of Southern-style soul-food standbys mixed with Pacific Rim flavors, buttermilk fried chicken and chili, chicken and kukui sausage gumbo, and fried catfish. There’s also a heaping helping of side dishes and a vegetarian black-eyed pea chili that has inspired him to create more meat-free options.

“Vegetarians come in all the time looking for something that’s not just a steamed vegetable plate,“he explained. “Vegetarian soul (food) is kinda unheard of, but I think this is the first step in me going and vegetarianizing my cuisine, in small ways.“And at prices as affordable as $12 for that fried chicken and $20 for a bowl of seafood jambalaya, what’s not to love?

SOUL is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, and noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Sunday offers brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Sunday suppers from 4 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call 735-7685.

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