This family-focused eatery is a great ‘catch’
By Kyle Galdeira
Since opening 38 years ago, the team at Yama’s Fish Market has made it a priority to help both local diners and visitors from around the world feel like it’s “Aloha Friday” every day of the week.
The commitment to serving up ono local favorites and Hawaiian food, and doing so within an ohana-style work environment, has helped the local business thrive throughout nearly four decades.
The restaurant has been in business since 1980, and that longevity ties directly to its delicious food and commitment to customer service.
“We’re all about serving delicious Hawaiian food, every day,” said Brian Yamamoto, president of Yama’s Fish Market Inc. “We’re like family, and when employees come to work here, they become part of our ohana.”
He added, “For some employees, this is their first job, so they not only learn job-related skills, like preparing lau lau and kalua pig, (but) they also learn life skills, like responsibility and time-management. There are opportunities for upward mobility if employees have the right attitude and are willing to learn.”
The Moiliili restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., close to the University of Hawaii and just a block away from two Biki bike-share stations.
On the food spectrum, Yama’s offers an array of local favorites, including beef stew, pork adobo, shoyu chicken and poke bowls crafted with fresh fish from the auction. Not to mention the eatery also serves up beloved Hawaiian picks such as kalua pig, lau lau, lomi salmon, squid luau, chicken long rice and, of course, haupia for dessert.
In addition to popular plates and a la carte selections, Yama’s also can handle large takeout and catering orders for parties and special events.
“Almost all of our dishes are made in-house, from lau lau, kalua pig and pasteles to fresh poke, sashimi, salads and desserts,” Yamamoto said. “Many of our employees are trained to work in various departments. This encourages teamwork and reinforces our family environment.
“We practice safe food preparation and are trained to make many of our different specialties,” he added.
Yamamoto noted that Yama’s is an ideal destination for those who are looking for a potential career in the restaurant industry.
Additionally, by closing at 5 p.m. daily, employees are able to finish work at a reasonable time and still enjoy time with family and friends in the evening — a welcomed perk for service-industry employees who are used to working late nights.
“We’ve been around for 38 years, and everything we serve here is locally made,” Yamamoto said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it seeing all of our happy customers who keep returning.”
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LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTOS
NAME: Yama’s Fish Market Inc.
WHAT: 2332 Young St., Moiliili
PRESIDENT: Brian Yamamoto
BENEFITS: Qualified employees receive: medical, dental, drug and vision insurance; paid vacation time; a 401(k) retirement savings program; employee discounts and complimentary employee meals.
NOTE: Yama’s encourages patrons to follow and post ono pics from the restaurant on its Instagram: @yamas_fishmarket