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Happy To Help

Urata, George Casey, Carlo Siuze, Elvin Acierto and general manager Misty Caban of the restaurant’s Ward location.

By Don Robbins

Lane Muraoka, president and owner of Big City Diner, explained that one of the secrets to success for the eatery’s flourishing business for more than two decades has been its nurturing atmosphere for employees who want to succeed at the company.

Lane Muraoka, a Kailua native who attended Iolani School, founded Big City Diner and opened its first location in Kaimuki in 1998. The business, which recently celebrated more than 21 years of serving the community, has grown to a total of six restaurants islandwide.

Muraoka said that employees have the opportunity to grow their career within the organization on a long-term basis as long as they have the desire to learn and earnestly apply themselves.

For example, management team members are provided workshops and seminars to obtain the skills and information relevant to the restaurant field.

Baby Back Ribs with Our Famous Guava-Barbecue Sauce.

Greg Fritz is one of the Big City Diner employees who has risen through the ranks since he started working there in April 2007. He shared that he began while in school, training as a busboy and he remained in that role at the eatery for two years. Since then, he has advanced to positions as a host, food runner, server and floor leader with management duties.

“My co-workers have made it fun. There are 10 employees who have been working here longer than me. It’s been a pretty fun and enjoyable time,” Fritz declared.

Fellow employee Susu Lemson has been with Big City Diner for 20 years.

“I love the repeat customers who keep coming in,” Lemson said.

Muraoka explained that he seeks employees with the ability to work as part of a team and help each other to complete the job needed to provide customers with a pleasant experience. Currently Big City Diner is looking to fill positions for general managers, restaurant managers and assistant managers. In addition, the company is looking for chef/kitchen managers, line cooks and pantry/prep cooks, Muraoka added.

Muraoka himself started in the restaurant industry as a young man working as a dishwasher before opening the first Big City Diner. He continues to keep a strong hands-on presence as president, doing everything from cleaning and serving to bartending and more.

Big City Diner offers many options starting with breakfast, and extending throughout the day to lunch and dinner specials, yummy shakes and refreshing salads, such as The Big City Cobb Salad (right). It’s a satisfying salad with hickory-smoked turkey, diced ham, chopped tomato, red onion and more.

Blue Zones Project also named Big City Diner in Kailua as Blue Zones Project Approved, having fulfilled the certification process, which includes providing healthier menu options.

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THE 411

COMPANY: Big City Diner

LOCATIONS: Six islandwide: Kaimuki, Ward Village, Pearlridge East, Windward Mall, Kailua, Waipio Shopping Center

PHONE: 591-8891

WEBSITE: bigcitydinerhawaii.com

OWNER AND PRESIDENT: Lane Muraoka

EMPLOYEES: 275

BENEFITS: Flexible schedule, discounted family and friends’ meals, free kitchen meals, health and dental insurance, paid vacation, free parking

NOTEWORTHY: Big City Diner actively participates within the local community serving numerous local charitable organizations.

ANTHONY CONSILLIO FILE PHOTOS