Hawaiian grinds in Seattle

Colleen Shoda & Ted Keene
Colleen Shoda & Ted Keene

SEATTLE (HawaiiNewsNow) - When you think of Seattle, you tend to think of the Space Needle, the Puget Sound, lots of coffee, Pike Place Market---and the famous fish tossing that goes on inside it.

But local Hawaiian grinds? Not exactly.

"I was looking for it, because it reminds you of back home. You need that two-scoop rice, one-scoop macaroni salad and main entree."

Nanakuli native John Alo, who's been living in greater Seattle for the past few years found a place to get all the great food he was looking for at Saimin Says.

"This is perfect right here, you don't have to go back home and catch Hawaiian Air" said Alo of Saimin Says, which is co-owned by Ted Keene, originally from Idaho, and Colleen Shoda from Pearl City.

Keene ezplains how it all got started.

"I was a chef at the Fairway restaurant on Maui for a number of years, I switched over to the Grand Hyatt, and met Colleen there--she was working there."

"...and fell in love". Adds Colleen.

The two had aspirations of owning there own business, and originally had their sites set on a coffee shop in Las Vegas. However, a friend on Maui suggested Seattle, and without having ever been there, the two took the leap.

"We just packed up, rolled the dice, and came blind" said Shoda of the move.

That was in 1994, and while things were bumpy at first, word soon got out about the little piece of aloha in the town of Kent. Since then, business has steadily improved, and the restaurant has become a staple in the community for locals of Washington and Hawai'i.

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