Photo of the Bakery and Spitfire Rotisserie and Flatbread are two of the eateries at Dukes Lane Market & Eatery.
The Bakery and Spitfire Rotisserie and Flatbread are two of the eateries at Dukes Lane Market & Eatery.

Ryan Tatsumoto
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Dukes Lane Market & Eatery
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach Hotel
2255 Kühiö Ave.
(808) 923-5678

What started in the 1940s as a neighborhood pharmacy and then reinvented itself in 1964 to become the ultimate convenience store with 30 locations in Waikïkï alone(!) — is growing once again. If you thought I was referring to Sidney and Minnie Kosasa’s ABC Store empire, you are absolutely right. You can’t walk more than a block in Waikïkï without spotting that familiar blue and white ABC Store logo.

According to the story, while on a trip to Miami, Sidney observed that tourists were purchasing goods mainly from convenience stores rather than expensive resort shops. He began envisioning a time when tourists would be flocking to Waikïkï. Of course, once Hawai‘i became the 50th star on the American flag, that tourist invasion did, in fact, happen and the Kosasas were ready to sell them anything they needed while vacationing in Waikïkï.

Photo of one of the samplings served at the preview event was salmon on lavosh.
One of the samplings served at the preview event was salmon on lavosh.

Well, time marches on, and since the Kosasas would be hard-pressed to squeeze another ABC Store into Waikïkï, how does the entrepreneurial family avoid stagnation and continue to grow?

That’s right! They move on to the letter “D,” as in Dukes Lane Market & Eatery.

Dukes Lane Market & Eatery

Located at the corner of Kuhio Avenue and Dukes Lane in the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach Hotel, Dukes Lane Market & Eatery will be a multifaceted food emporium featuring Basalt, a 150-seat global cuisine restaurant; Market, a retail outlet selling gourmet foods; and The Vault, which will stock fine wines and liquor. Other eateries will include Bakery, Spitfire Rotisserie and Flatbread, Ono’s Burger Bar, Dash Fast and Fresh and Chill.

Heading up this gourmet extravaganza is Chef Kelly Degala, a local boy, who attended the University of Hawai‘i and earned his culinary credentials from Kapi‘olani Community College. Chef Degala moved to Seattle after graduating, but returned to the 50th a decade later to work at the Waikiki Alana Hotel and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant before heading back to Seattle as corporate executive chef for Gordon Biersch and then Antony’s Restaurants. In 2003, he moved to the Bay Area to accept the executive chef’s position at Va de Vi Wine Bar and Bistro, then as executive chef/partner at Pres a Vi Kitchen and Wine Bar (where I first sampled his cuisine). In 2012, he made a third move to Seattle to become a private caterer and to work as executive chef at the W Hotel. In 2015, the Kosasas convinced Chef Degala to come home to become the corporate executive chef of the ABC Stores operation.

It was during his final move home that I met Chef Degala — he said he owed the move to his wife, Kirsti Mittag-Degala. After multiple moves between the 50th, the Bay Area, Seattle and Canada for his career, he said it was time to settle down and let Kirsti pursue her career goals and interests. Since that initial dinner we shared last year at Hank’s Haute Dogs, we’ve discovered that we have mutual friends in the Bay Area, including my own brother. Besides that relationship, I also enjoy a kinship with the Kosasa clan, as ABC Store founder Sidney Kosasa was first and foremost a practicing pharmacist (like me!), as is his daughter Gloria.

The New Venture

When you step into Dukes Lane Market & Eatery, you’ll be facing Chill and Island Gourmet Coffee. Both are open from 6 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. and offer a wide selection of daily caffeinated (and decaffeinated) java options, along with chilled smoothies, bubble teas and gelato.

Directly across Chill is Bakery. Besides producing breads for the restaurant and buns for the burger bar, Bakery will be frying up fresh doughnuts at 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. The doughnuts are targeted at locals, as most tourists aren’t awake at that hour. They envision providing office workers with some morning sweets to take to the office.

Just past Bakery is Spitfire Rotisserie and Flatbread and Ono’s Burger Bar, both of which will start lunch service at 10:30 a.m. Spitfire Rotisserie will provide Kona coffee-rubbed rotisserie chicken, Chinese-style roasted duck and various flatbread pizzas, along with the usual plate lunch options with a choice of salads (traditional mac or green) and rice (white, brown or garlic fried).

Neighboring Ono’s Burger Bar will offer at least five different burgers, including a vegetarian burger. What piqued my interest at a preview was a burger topped with seared foie gras along with the Butter Tots. Chef Degala is basically creating his own version of “Robuchon Potatoes,” or mashed potatoes with a two-to-one ratio of potatoes to butter. I’ll just take a second dose of my cholesterol medication after this dish . . .

Opposite Ono’s Burger Bar is The Vault, Dukes Lane’s fine wine and liquor store. It boasts an inventory of mid-priced California wines as well as high-end selections such as Sassicaia and Gaja (trophy Italian wines), Shafer and Roy (trophy California wines), and an extensive selection of bourbon and scotches. The Vault will also carry crafted artisanal beer and have a cigar humidor for those who partake of tobacco, but do not inhale.

Connected to The Vault is Market, which currently stocks fresh local produce and many grab-and-go items. Chef Degala will eventually use The Market to create pre-boxed meals meant for up to four diners that purchasers will finish creating in their own kitchens, similar to those home-delivered meals advertised on television.

Situated in the center of Dukes Lane is the Bar, which has a great selection of bourbon, scotch, gin and vodka, along with several local beers on tap. We sampled several cocktails at the preview event — all of them were refreshing and delicious.

The crowning glory of Dukes Lane is Basalt, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. According to Chef Degala, Basalt’s breakfast and lunch menu will offer traditional choices. Dinner, however, will be the showcase, featuring local beef, venison and lamb as often as possible, along with a raw bar with offerings of shellfish, fish, oysters and caviar.

If the mini plates served at the preview event were any indication of what will be offered on the regular menu, diners are in for a real treat: truffled wagyu beef skewers, salt-and-pepper shrimp, grilled baby white asparagus with prosciutto, lobster bisque, tofu spring rolls . . . all were delicious!

Basalt will be open for breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m., lunch service is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Parking is fully validated for Basalt diners. And yes, the Mrs. and I plan on securing a reservation in the next month.

One Stop Shopping

Rebranding or reinventing a product or business is often necessary to avoid stagnation. The entry of ABC Stores into the upscale food environment was likely due. Many of the businesses in Waikïkï have reinvented themselves, the most recent of all being the International Market Place. Even Ala Moana is continually reinventing itself — now including luxury condominiums.

I see Dukes Lane Market & Eatery getting its share of clientele in this new market economy, whether it’s local patrons buying freshly made doughnuts early in the morning, grabbing lunch at mid-day or dining at Basalt in the evening; an upscale tourist from Asia, seeking out that trophy bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or bourbon; or a Waikïkï tourist who just wants a simple burger and fries.

Dukes Lane Market & Eatery
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach Hotel
2255 Kühiö Ave.
(808) 923-5678

Ryan Tatsumoto is a clinical pharmacist by day. In his off-hours, however, he and his wife enjoy seeking out perfect marriages of food and wine. Ryan is a certified sommelier and a certified specialist of wine. The Windward O‘ahu resident also writes a column for San Francisco’s Nichi Bei Weekly called “The Gochiso Gourmet.”


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