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Miyo’s Spotlights Seafood at New Location

Posted December 10, 2012, 10:03 AM HST Updated December 10, 2012, 12:53 PM HST
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Miyo’s poke. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

After nearly a year of renovations and design work, Miyo’s has a new home.

“It took time, but everything came together,” says the restaurant’s founder and namesake.

Miyo, known by only one name, decided to move her operation to its new space at the Manono Marketplace after years of persistent infrastructure problems at its old location in the Waiakea Villas.

Miyo’s new dining room features custom woodworking. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Where the former locale featured views of the lagoon and mountains, the focus of the new location has been directed inward. Mango-wood seating, water features and custom artwork by local craftsmen adorn the 2,800-square-foot restaurant.

As before, the kitchen at Miyo’s is visible to diners. Miyo herself is enthusiastic about the menu, emphasizing that a special focus is now being placed on fresh seafood. “We’re working hard to get really good fish,” she says, describing a renewed effort to use local produce as well. Miyo still grows most of the lettuce for the establishment on her own property in Waiakea Uka.

Miyo instructing her staff on the preparation of “Gobo” (burdock boot). Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Most of favorite menu items from the old location will reappear, including her signature sesame chicken, ahi tempura, donburi (simmered meat and vegetables over rice) and popular salads. The restaurant’s comfort food theme has been maintained, which Miyo insists is “home-style Japanese.”

A second open kitchen has been added at the Hinano street end of the restaurant, complete with an entry that reads “Miyo’s Ramen & Things.” Miyo insists that for now the space will be used to house diners from the main restaurant. She is coy about the extra kitchen’s future purpose, stating “I’m not ready to talk about that yet.”

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Although Miyo has acquired a liquor license for her new location, she indicates a reluctance to put it to use. “We’ve always been a family place,” she says, adding “but for now people can bring their own drinks.”

Miyo stands in front of a custom-made water feature. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

The longtime entrepreneur has owned a range of establishments over the years, including a small Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. But it is her current venture she is most proud of, explaining “I have many good people with me, so that now I can enjoy this place, and not have to work as hard.”

Miyo has noticed her customer base evolving over the years, with larger numbers of young diners coming through her doors. “Lots of my original customers are you know, in their 80s or more now,” she observes, adding, “but they still come!”

The new restaurant can accommodate 92 people, not including sidewalk tables.

Miyo’s is located at 681 Manono St., Hilo.

Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. The phone number is (808)-935-2273.

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