One of the founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement wants to help bring a well-known Italian restaurant brand to the Islands within the next year.
An issue, Roy Yamaguchi says, is finding a place where veteran restaurateur Jean-Louis de Mori and executive chef Antonio Tommasi can open their first Maccheroni Republic restaurant outside of Los Angeles.
"I haven't really secured a location for it, but I've been working diligently to make sure I find the right location to open the first one," Yamaguchi told PBN on Thursday.
The James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, known for his eponymous Roy's Restaurants, said Tommasi and de Mori "have been a great partner for many, many years and brought a lot of great Italian food and restaurants to the Los Angeles area."
Among them are Locanda Veneta in West Hollywood, Ca' Brea in Hancock Park, Ca' Del Sole in Toluca Lake, and Il Moro in Sawtelle.
"They have a great concept; the food is extremely creative and adaptable to our environment in Hawaii because, of course, Hawaii loves noodles and pasta," Yamaguchi said about Maccheroni Republic, which opened two years ago across the street from the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. "I feel it'll be a great addition to the restaurant scene in the state of Hawaii."
But finding the right location is key to launching the duo's first restaurant in Hawaii — a process that likely will take some time and delay a possible opening until at least December, he said.
"I've been very cautious in making sure that I select the right location for the first one," Yamaguchi said. "I've come close to negotiating some leases, but I'm not sure about which area I'm going to select first."