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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Conveying New Style At Former Camellia

Just when you thought you’d seen all the latest restaurant ideas, a brand new concept has popped up in the middle of the city.

DishGo is the brainchild of Jonathon Lee and his partners, all longtime fixtures in the food and beverage industry on the wholesale side. Since buying Yakiniku Camellia Barbecue, the decades-old Korean restaurant on Beretania Street last year, they’ve been transforming the building into a brand new, contemporary Korean restaurant with a difference

The idea for DishGo came to Jon as he was having dinner with friends at a sushi restaurant, the kind where the food travels to customers by conveyor belt.

“I wondered why no one had ever thought to do this with meat – especially with the style of dishes used in Korean food,” says Jon. His idea quickly transformed into reality and last week’s opening of DishGo impressed diners eager to taste the new style yakiniku.

The restaurant has been impeccably renovated. It’s unrecognizable as its former self. Central to the large, airy dining room is a shiny new conveyor belt system imported from Singapore. Its snakes seamlessly around the restaurant and brings a colorful, fun element to the dining experience. What makes DishGo even more attractive is that dining isn’t limited to the small plates passing by on conveyor. There’s a full menu of typical Korean favorites, and meat, seafood and chicken platters that can be ordered a la carte. Prices for large platters cost less than $20. Shabu Shabu is an option too, and waiters will bring bowls of broth while diners choose their ingredients from the passing dishes on the belt.

“It’s make-your-own shabu shabu and design-your-own yakiniku,” says Jon.

For those who’ve been calling to ask about the restaurant menu, he’s found an easy way to describe the concept.

“I just tell them its meat on a conveyor, not sushi,” he says.

With more than 20 different types of meat and poultry and a wide variety of salads – including a large, fresh salad basket – the restaurant promises to be colorful, affordable and fun.

In a nice touch that acknowledges the restaurant’s previous incarnation, Yakiniku grill covers are the original ones used more than 30 years ago when Yakiniku Camellia first opened.

“We wanted to remember the restaurant that was here first,” says Jon.

DishGo also has a wide variety of beers, sake and drinks made popular by Korean TV.

“We have all the drinks people see on Korean television,” says Jon. “They are really popular.”

DishGo is as fresh a dining concept as Honolulu has seen in a while. It’s unpretentious, has appeal for most age groups and budgets. It won’t surprise me if there are lines outside as local people flock to try this interactive dining concept.

“It’s lively and welcoming, and we want people to be talking and having fun as they eat,” Jon says with a grin. “It’s enjoyable to be out having lunch or dinner. We want it to be fun for everyone.”

Some salads – and the first bowl of rice – are free. A second bowl of rice costs $1.

Kids meals, including dessert, start at $2.49, and regular plates range from $1.50 to $4.49. A la carte platters, including shrimp, salmon, scallops and meats are around $19.

Contemporary, clean, and cutting edge in its approach to Korean food, DishGo is a welcome addition to the Honolulu dining scene.

Happy eating!

DishGo
2949 S. Beretannia St.

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