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Food & Dining // Food & Beverage Focus
Jo McGarry

Richard “Dickie” Furtado

Jo McGarry photo

Owner, Waikoloa Bar and Grill, Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Where were you born and raised? Born on Oahu and then moved to the Big Island.

Your family has a long history in the restaurant business, including your sister Bobby Lou Schneider Yeackel at Buzz’s. A long history! My dad started in the business in 1946. We’ve always had restaurants.

Was your first job in a restaurant? Oh yeah, worked as a busboy when I was young. Of course, I hated it at first, but you find out quickly that there’s quick money to be made through tipping – and it’s easy to get to like that when you’re young.

What was your first restaurant? My first place I bought around 1966, I guess, here on the Big Island. It was a little bar/full-service restaurant called Tropics, owned by Tony and Peaches Guerrero. You won’t find many people today who remember it, but it was the place to go in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

What’s the difference between how we ate then and how we eat now? Oh, a lot has changed. In 1973 people started off their evening with an early martini, sat at tables with tablecloths. People don’t really dine today. A lot of that is because people watch what they eat and drink. They’re more aware. Tableside service has almost disappeared completely.

The industry has changed on every level, it seems. Yes, but you’ll find one thing that doesn’t change: steakhouses. They are the places that last longest. It’s the designer food restaurants that don’t last.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working? Murphy’s Bar and Grill and Side Street Inn when we’re in Honolulu. Anywhere that has good food and no fuss. We’re old-style.

With whom would you most like to have dinner? Jeff Harmon, who started Nick’s Fishmarket, and my father. They were both good food people.

Do you cook at home? Not too much anymore.

What’s always in your fridge? Steak and radishes.

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