Five years ago Tiffany Tanaka started Fresh Cafe in Kakaako, and it quickly became the hot spot for hipsters, college students, young entrepreneurs, art lovers, and WiFi-seeking cofficers in town.
Now she’s opening a second location, aptly in burgeoning Chinatown, bringing the same kind of unique-gathering-space concept to the downtown area.
“It’s going to be Fresh Cafe 2.0,” Tanaka said at today’s media preview of the restaurant. “We’re trying to bring Fresh Cafe up another notch, to another level.” (Don’t worry, the Kakaako location will still remain open.)
Fresh Cafe Downtown will open in stages starting in a couple of weeks. It occupies the huge space — more than 5,000 square feet — that was vacated by the beloved Indigo’s, which closed in September 2013.
There will be several components to the new cafe: a pizzeria that will serve pies at lunch and late at night, a coffee bar with pastries (below), and an indoor and outdoor dining area with new and unique menu items.
Here’s the cafe’s coffee bar, which was also serve pastries and desserts.
Here’s the main dining hall, which will feature art by local artists — very in line with Fresh Cafe’s philosophy on promoting creativity and local talent.
Because of the largeness of the space, Tanaka said she will be opening the pizzeria first, maybe in a week or two, with service until 3 a.m. (“When you have no place to go at 3 a.m., we’ll be here,” she said, laughing.) Next will be the coffee bar — where the old Green Room was — and the actual restaurant will open in a month or two.
Several dozen media folks in town were invited to a preview of the restaurant today, to sample some of the menu items and browse the space.
Here’s what the event looked like — and what you can expect from Fresh Cafe’s second location:
Sangria and Bloody Marys got the event started.
Sarah Honda, editorial director at HILuxury, and Martha Cheng, food editor at HONOLULU who pens the blog, Biting Commentary, were both there, among the dozens of media who turned up for the lunchtime event.
Tiffany Tanaka, one of the co-owners of this space, addressed the crowd in the main dining hall. She said she was nervous and read her thank-yous from her iPhone.
Here’s the Lime Jello with haupia and diced mango tossed in an Earl Grey-and-lychee syrup.
This is a Chinese rice cake with apple mousse, bacon and a black sesame puree.
Here’s the arugula pizza with an herb cheese spread, chia seeds and coco nibs.
Finally — a REAL Hawaiian pizza! This was came topped with kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, lup cheong, lomi tomato sauce and spinach.
This is the spinach artichoke pizza with marinated artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and Prosciutto.
Of course, everyone got a swag bag, packed with oatmeal cookies and reasons to come back!
Fresh Cafe Downtown, 1121 Nuuanu Ave., Suite 105. Will be open in stages starting in a couple of weeks. Visit the site for updates.
Back at work already? You should be resting.
I know, I know. Good thing my docs don’t read my blog! LOL
Can’t wait for a taste of Fresh Cafe! take care of yourself!