Sam Choy arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Photo illustration | U.S. Navy photos by Ryan Graham

Melissa Heintz

Fleet and Family Readiness Marketing

Sam Choy, who is internationally known for his Hawaiian regional cuisine, makes his next appearance at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with his brand new restaurant, Sam Choy’s Seafood Grille and Hapa Bar. The restaurant makes its home on the waters of Hickam Harbor at 3465 Mamala Bay Drive, the former location of Sea Breeze and the Sand Bar & Grille.

The eatery provides a Sam Choy’s inspired menu showcasing Hawaiian regional and Pacific Rim cuisine. Customers can enjoy a lunch, sunset and dinner menu. Lunch is served Sunday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Saturday to Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Prices range from the low end of $5 for an appetizer to fresh fish or a rib-eye steak for $22.

Take your meal inside the restaurant or outside on the lanai. For a more casual environment, dine at the Hapa Bar. The Hapa Bar has a full-service menu Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a daily sunset menu from 2 to 6 p.m. It features an aggressively priced pupu menu along with discounted specialty drinks, beers and wines.

The menu features items from poke appetizers, fish chowders and fresh island green salads to seafood, meat entrees and sandwiches. Most of the ingredients are fresh products from the Hawaiian Islands, including local fish, greens and beef from the Big Island, tomatoes and breads from Oahu, and sweet potatoes from Molokai.

“Sam’s passion for food is shown with all his different poke and his love for seafood. At this restaurant, we have his simple dishes that we’ve all grown up with that we’ve taken mainstream,” explained Executive Chef Roberto Los Banos, who created the menu with this in mind.

Los Banos, who grew up on the North Shore of Oahu and refined his culinary skills at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, hopes to share his love for food with all of the customers on base.

“My love for cooking has grown with the experiences I’ve had along my journey with all the aunties and uncles that have given me their recipes. Being the multicultural islands that we are, we all grow up with different ethnic backgrounds. I have the Filipino side from my father and the redhead from Minnesota from my mother, so it all brings everything together to influence my cooking. My love for serving others is first and foremost,” he said.

For those who are easing themselves into Hawaiian cuisine, there is something on the menu for everybody.

“We’re doing actually some of Sam’s global experiences as well. We’re bringing here the Louisiana shrimp boil and the crab boil, but then again we have all the way to the extreme great sashimi. There’s a variety of dishes out there that can encompass many different palates and tastes, not only the Hawaiian cuisine type from the raw fish to the grilled mahi mahi,” said Los Banos.

In its efforts to go green, Sam Choy’s Seafood Grille does full kitchen and office recycling and is committed to maintaining and preserving the island with such a close location to the water. The restaurant also prides itself in what it calls “premiere aloha service” and strives to achieve a first class reputation for gracious and informed hospitality with aloha, the highest quality of food and beverage, and a beautiful and comfortable setting. All of this can be found right here on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“So we basically take a slice of Hawaiian cuisine and high-level hotel or premier level aloha service here on base so they don’t have to leave, don’t have to worry about traveling to Waikiki and dealing with the parking and the hassle of all the hustle and bustle, they can just stay right here in their own safe environment,” said Mark Whiteley, general manager.

Lt. Cmdr. Rhonda Bennett from the Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, who grew up in Kaneohe and has been away from the islands for 13 years, feels that eating here is like being home. Bennett introduced her co-worker, Lt. Cmdr. Marsha Collins, to the restaurant. Collins has been stationed in Hawaii for 10 months and enjoyed her experience.

“We had made reservations; they were honored. And then when I came in, they were very courteous and took care. It tasted well, no complaints,” said Collins.

Capt. Todd Mainwaring, U.S. Army from the 8th TSC on Fort Shafter, and his wife Darcy enjoyed their kalbi beef plate and coconut shrimp sandwich at the Hapa Bar.

“There were lots of choices for fish and seafood on the menu, and I’ve definitely never seen a shrimp coconut roll sandwich before, so I thought that was unique,” said Darcy.

As for the view, “It’s fantastic. I mean it doesn’t get much better than this. Even just waiting for a table, you’re sitting right next to the water and everything. It’s beautiful,” said Todd.

In the months to come, customers can also look forward to Sunday and holiday brunches, expanded catering services, a takeout menu and more of Sam Choy’s signature products. For more information, call Sam Choy’s Seafood Grille at 422-3002 or visit to download the full menus.

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Category: Life & Leisure