EARL Opens in Kakaako
Earl Sandwich opened in Kaimuki in 2014, and somehow managed to build a loyal following despite being tucked away behind Big City Diner and underneath Himalayan Kitchen. Tomorrow, its second location in the heart of Kakaako has its grand opening, and my coworker Michelle (with a far more evolved palate) joined me for the preview lunch for friends, family, local media and social media people.
As a non-townie, non-hipster, middle-aged dad, I had never even heard of EARL. As a result, I probably wasn’t as excited as many to hear about the pending arrival of the second location in Kakaako at 444 Keawe Street, kitty corner from Bevy.
Owner Justin Parvizimotlagh says this new location is a big step up for EARL. Compared to the Kaimuki shop, where there’s barely enough room for a counter inside, the seating area at Kakaako is relatively large, open and well lit, office with a bustling, clean kitchen.
They take pride in curing and braising their own meats, experimenting with the menu, and tracking trends in order to be able to reinvent them or simply steer clear of them.
The menu is slightly different from Kaimuki, but I wouldn’t have known the difference.
We started with EARL nachos, featuring super-fried tortillas with refried beans, chorizo, avocado, and pickled chiles, which add a nice bit of heat. The fries were also fantastic, fried to serious crispness, and paired with a garlic aioli. I wish I could tell you what other fancy toppings were involved, but the combination was a winner.
EARL (which stands for Eat A Real Lunch) is known mostly for its sandwiches, and they did not disappoint in this department. We had the roast pork (with tomato jam, grilled onions, roasted garlic mayo, cilantro, tomato, and avocado) and the steak (roasted tri-tip, roasted garlic mayo, creamy blue cheese mushrooms, and tomato). The bread was stellar, perfectly warm and crisp, and it comes from La Tour Bakehouse so that was no surprise. But EARL also has an exclusive hoagie roll with baked cheddar cheese that came with many of its other signature sandwiches, and it looked great.
For the preview, the only beverage was lilikoi or plain lemonade, but it was a perfect pairing anyway.
With great food and a great location, we anticipate good business for Justin and friends going forward!
Thanks to Lincoln, Chris, and Justin for hosting us and a motley crew of media and social media folks for today’s preview event.