Jack Tyrrell specializes in Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii luxury condo projects.

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Sneak peek at Symphony Honolulu’s retail and restaurant space Velocity

Screenshot of the entrance to Velocity at the Symphony Honolulu, Pacific Business News

With Symphony Honolulu Unit 4202 now ready for move-in, and we are excited about what is coming to its ground floor!  Pacific Business News has a great article updating us on what is to come to Velocity, the ground floor retail and restaurant space within the Symphony.  In addition to automotive dealership featuring European car models, there will be a restaurant featuring Italian wine, pizza and paninis; a women's dayspa, men's clothing store, and more!  Read below for full details:

The bottom floor of Symphony Honolulu, a new condominium tower at 888 Kapiolani Blvd., will host a car dealership by Hawaii-based JN Group Inc., two Italian restaurants by PJ Partners Inc. of Japan, a wine and food store, and two combination retail store/salons.

“Velocity is the retail piece of Symphony Honolulu. It’s a culmination of eight European automotive brands and eight European motorcycle brands,” Brad Nicolai of JN Group, the parent company of JN Automotive Group, told Pacific Business News in an interview. Cars sold in Velocity include Audi, JaguarLand Rover and other European exotics. Click on a photo to see a slideshow.

Velocity’s men’s clothing store, called Sixty-One, will include a men’s barber shop. The store is named after the year that Nicolai’s father, Joe Nicolai, founded JN Group in Honolulu in 1961. The men’s clothing store and salon will be the developer’s own retail concept. The group also operates Harley-Davidson clothing outlets on Oahu.

A woman’s boutique will include women’s spa services such as a dry bar and lash bar. Kristin Wood, founder of Honolulu salon Kristin Wood Lashes, will operate the salon.

Velocity will also host a wine and gourmet food store owned by a separate operator.

Nicolai said he envisions Velocity as a reflection of the piazza public markets found in towns and cities across Italy.

“Fortunately, through my travels through Asia, Europe and New York City, I’ve been able to get different conceptual ideas of how retail can work with residential, mixed-use projects,” he explained. “The unique experience we’re trying to connect is tied to my father’s Italian heritage, the experience of the old country.”

The developers also have plans to make the space a venue for performances.

“We took the piazza concept as a place of congregation,” Nicolai explained. “Kakaako has really lent itself to be a host to artisans whether it be fixed art or live art.” As the space is across the street from the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, “it lends itself with music and arts.”

Velocity’s two leveled architecture will include a restaurant upstairs and downstairs. Restaurant operator PJ Partners, who also operate Honolulu’s Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, have not released the restaurant names. Both will be under the direction of Italian Michelin Chef Gianpaolo Raschi.

The bottom floor of Velocity will host a “typical Italian wine and bar,” as Chef Maurizio Roberti described. Roberti is an Italian cuisine master chef currently based in Japan and is working to develop the restaurants. The bottom floor will also have an espresso bar.

In addition to drinks, the menu will include pizza and paninis. “People will call it fast food; we call it soul food. It’s fast on the go, but it’s still soul food,” Roberti said.

The downstairs restaurant will seat 40 to 50 customers, plus outdoor seating.

The ground floor will have a high ceiling and a mezzanine to showcase the automotive outlet’s Ducati motorcycles and Vespa scooters.

“You get the feeling that you don’t need to get on a plane and go to Italy, you can just come down to Velocity. That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to create” Roberti explained.

Ingredients for the restaurant’s menu will include a combination of locally sourced food and Italian imported cheeses and meats. The still-unnamed restaurant is reaching out to locally sourced food producers to partner with and specifically seeks a Hawaii-based gelato company. The restaurant is also looking into making its own Italian sausages to add to the menu.

Velocity’s upstairs area will have a cocktail bar and a formal dining restaurant. A large glass window will separate the kitchen from the dining area, so “you can actually see all the chefs at work,” Roberti said.

The upstairs restaurant’s menu will include predominantly seafood — Gianpaolo Raschi’s specialty.

Roberti described the menu as “simplified Italian, not the over-indulgent, swimming in oil, backstroke in tomato sauce or anything like that. It’s real Italian.”

Upstairs restaurant will include a VIP shift-table area that seats 10. Restaurant developers did not provide price points for menu items upon request. Combined, both restaurants will cover 6,000 square feet including the outdoor seating area.

The restaurant projects are looking to hire locally, and they have plans to create apprenticeships and a collaboration with Kapiolani Community College. “We would like to get the community involved in our project,” Roberti said.

Symphony Honolulu is a 388-unit condominium tower and has been open to unit owners since June. According to Nicolai, the tower’s units are about 96 percent sold out. JN Group developed the tower in collaboration with OliverMcMillan LLC.

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Popular Chinatown restaurant Pig & the Lady coming to Ward Village

pig and the lady.jpg

We are so excited to read that one of our favorite Chinatown eateries, the Pig and the Lady, is opening its second restaurant in the former Kua Aina space at Ward Center!  Duane Shimogawa of Pacific Business News reported the news this past weekend:

Hawaii chef Andrew Le is opening a second Honolulu location of his modern Vietnamese restaurant, The Pig & The Lady, at The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Kakaako, PBN has learned.

Le and his family, including his brother, Alex, announced that a second The Pig & the Lady would open in the former Kua Aina Sandwich Shop space at Ward Centre during a RiseHI event Friday evening in Chinatown. Le and his brother catered the event’s food and were among the event’s speakers.

Andrew Le, owner and chef of The Pig & the Lady in Honolulu's Chinatown, plans to open a second location at The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Kakaako.
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The Pig & The Lady, which began selling food at Oahu farmer’s markets and as a pop-up restaurant, opened its first brick-and-mortar location at the Pacific Gateway Center in 2013, taking over the Lemongrass Cafe at 83 N. King St.

The Pig & The Lady, considered one of the top new restaurants in Honolulu, is looking to open a lab-like kitchen built to teach cooking classes and host other chefs’ pop-ups on the second floor of its Chinatown location.

Andrew Le was one of the Hawaii chefs nominated earlier this year for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Todd Apo, vice president of community development for The Howard Hughes Corp., told PBN last week that the developer had signed a food-inspired tenant to fill the Kua Aina space, but declined to specify which restaurant.

PBN reached out to The Pig & The Lady and Apo for comment on Saturday.

Friday night’s RiseHi event — “They Don’t Ship to Hawaii” — also included remarks from Hawaii waterman Brian Keaulana, surf photographer Zak Noyle (who is a member of PBN’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2016), artist Aaron Kai, Eden in Love’s Tanna Dang, Fitted’s Keola Rapozo and Makahiki Challenge’s Kapu Gaison.

Kua Aina closed its Kakaako location last fall after being open at that spot for about two decades. Kua Aina is co-owned by Bryan Botelho and Terry Thompson, and has locations in Kapolei, Haleiwa, Tokyo and London.

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