A plate lunch place that cooks the food when you order it. Unheard of you say, not if you live and work in Kaimuki. Sam Choy and Lyle Galderia check out Okata Bento on this week's Cheap Eats.
It's literally a hole in the wall along Waialae Avenue. But after 20 years in business, people have not only discovered it, they keep coming back.
Kaimuki is undergoing a revitalization, that's why you see so much construction here. We found one of the cheapest places for plate lunches. That's right, it's called Okata Bento. They don't specialize in any one thing here. Owner Lyndon Okata says he just tries to keep things simple. He says, "I have like, one pork, one beef, one fish, and I have like three different chicken."
If there is a specialty at Okata Bento, it's that all of the entrees are cooked to order. The other specialty here is the prices. Bento's range from $4.25 to $8.25. Plate lunches are $5.50, with the mixed plate at $7.25.
Sam looks at Okata's prices and says, "you know, it's pretty much like teri beef $2.75 sandwich, boy that's like old days, man."
Okata replies, "Yeah. I haven't changed my prices in quite awhile."
"Your plates are nice. I tell you, that's beyond cheap eats boy," says Sam Choy.
Talk to customers, and they'll tell you why Okata Bento is high on their lunchtime list. Angie Britten of Kailua, says, "the good food, it's cheap, it's fast. They're nice people over here, and it's real close to work."
Another Okata customer cites the convenience of the shop, D.J. Colbert says, "food's good, and it's close to my shop. Ha,ha. It's quick, it's convenient."
"The only thing that they really don't like about it is it takes a while," says Okata. "When you have to cook the food to order, it takes a while to cook it."
Sam and Lyle prepare to grind the ono food. "Oh Sam, it's time to eat. Man, this is incredible. Look at what we got here."
"I know boy, unbelievable. We got some mahimahi, and some chicken katsu. Rice, macaroni salad, lemon," says Sam, pointing at his overflowing plate.