Outside of the Aloha we have for Hawai‘i and our guests, we’ve got a big space in our hearts for food. And not just any kind of food…we’re talking dishes with mouthwatering ingredients that embody every aspect of O‘ahu’s cosmopolitan energy. To satisfy our cravings, we often look to LunchBox, the employee gathering space and cafe-style restaurant at our Honolulu headquarters.
LunchBox was launched in 2013 as part of the full-scale renovation of our offices and exceeds the standards of your everyday break area.
“Sitting down together to share a meal is integral to the sense of ‘ohana that defines who we are. We designed the LunchBox space at the heart of our corporate offices to help foster that connection we share,” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Taking the time out of our day to eat lunch together gives us a chance to connect with colleagues and remind ourselves that we are first and foremost in the business of hospitality.”
LunchBox is equipped with a kitchen fit for a chef and headed by a restaurant selected through employee feedback. Pili Group, the culinary venture spearheaded by Hawaiian Airlines featured chef Mark Noguchi, helped us inaugurate LunchBox in 2013. Late last year, Noguchi announced he would pursue other opportunities, so we began the search for our next local restaurant.
After several months of cafe pop-ups and employee surveying, we officially welcomed Fête to our corporate hale (home) earlier this month.
“We considered a lot of different eateries to fill the Pili Group’s shoes but we wanted to make sure that whoever we selected was both consistent with the high standards we apply to cuisine for our guests, and made food our colleagues would love to eat," added Mannis. "The team from Fête take local flavors and ingredients and elevate them with their global sensibility, and we’re fortunate to have them as part of our Hawaiian Airlines family.”
Fête, a popular New American restaurant based in the center of Chinatown’s bustling culinary scene, is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Robynne Maii and Chuck Bussler. Maii, an O‘ahu native and the restaurant’s executive chef, and Bussler, the front-of-house manager and mastermind behind their cocktail program, started the island venture after a successful run in New York City’s fast-paced restaurant industry. They got their feel for their first joint business while hosting a series of dinner parties for friends, featuring farm-to-table drinks and dishes that turned New York-grown ingredients into gastronomic masterpieces.
After returning home in 2014, Maii and Bussler began the search for their perfect space and worked tirelessly until the opening of Fête in 2016 on North Hotel Street. The restaurant has earned numerous awards for its avant-garde menu and dedication to service, including:
- 2016 Honolulu Star-Advertiser ‘Ilima award for People’s Choice - Best New Restaurant
- 2017 HONOLULU Magazine’s Hale ‘Aina Bronze Award for Best New Restaurant
- 2017 Hawai‘i Magazine Best New Restaurant - O‘ahu
“Robynne and I have always loved Hawaiian Airlines, and we feel our goals and mission are aligned pretty closely,” shared Bussler, who often flew on Hawaiian’s daily nonstop flight between New York and Honolulu. “We try to set the table with grace and hospitality that extends to our guests (and throughout the workplace) and expect craft in each moment.”
Visitors to Hawaiian Airlines’ headquarters can indulge in Fête’s made-to-order, sweet and savory dishes created especially for our ‘ohana.
“We love food…it’s our passion. It’s the beginning of our day, it’s the ending of our day,” Bussler told us. “That same sort of detail, passion and relationships that we’ve built with local farmers will be the same at LunchBox by Fête.”
Take a sneak peek at this week’s test menu for their launch week:
- ‘Olena (turmeric) salad
- French fries
- BBQ Fête fries with onion dip
- Sliced watermelon
SOUP AND SALADS
- Tofu salad with greens, cucumber, carrot, lomi tomatoes, bean sprouts, watercress, pickled mushrooms, crispy gyoza chips with a sesame vinaigrette
- Mushroom soup with sour cream and chives
- Fête Caesar with crispy chicken and parmesan toast
- Korean fried chicken sandwich with a pear slaw, sesame aioli on a sesame bun
- Ono (wahoo fish) sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a multi-grain bun
- Quinoa burger with lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on a sesame bun
- Fête burger made with a four-ounce local beef patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on a sesame bun (option to make it a double, add avocado or treat yourself to bacon)
- Homemade chocolate chip cookies
To learn more about Fête, you can visit www.fetehawaii.com or experience it yourself by visiting their Chinatown home base.