There aren’t many restaurants in Hawaii serving local meats.
And chef Bob McGee wanted to do something about it.
So using the fundraising site IndieGOGO, he raised $11,200 — mostly for a smoker — to open The Whole Ox Deli, part butcher shop, part delicatessen in the heart of Kakaako. It’s the only deli featuring local meats procured from farms and ranches across the state.
“I like meat, so the fact that we don’t have a lot of easily available local meat here and I had the power to do something about it by owning a restaurant that would make a difference,” McGee says. “I’m just that niche. In San Francisco, I’m a dime a dozen. Just so happens here, it’s something that doesn’t get done.”
One of the standouts on the deli’s chalkboard menu is the dry-aged burger ($11), made from full-front chuck still on the bone from Andrade Ranch on Kauai. It’s aged for two weeks before arriving at the deli, then aged for another two before the meat is taken off the bone and ground twice, the last time just before lunch.
And then there’s the pastrami. It sells out and sometimes you can’t get it for another 10 days. But if you’re lucky enough to be there when there’s pastrami, get the meaty “K+Z” sandwich, made up of pastrami, chicken liven, Dijon and onions (above).
The Whole Ox is only open for breakfast and lunch — and it doesn’t take reservations. The line will be long, but the food is definitely worth the wait.
The Whole Ox Deli, 327 Keawe St. Hours: 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch. (808) 699-6328, www.wholeoxdeli.com