Charlie Longhi

Jo McGarry photo

Owner: Longhi’s Restaurant, Ala Moana Center

When you own a restaurant like Longhi’s, where do you go to eat? I like a lot of places. Mostly small places for Japanese food, sushi … I like Indian food … anywhere that’s good, really. And sometimes fine dining, too.

You’re celebrating 10 years at your Ala Moana location, and I know there are many people reading this who will remember the opening and wonder, can it really have been that long? (laughs) I hear them. It does seem just like yesterday. The time has gone by fast, but it’s been a real pleasure. My dad, Bob, (who started Longhi’s in Lahaina) always threw the best parties – and that’s really what the restaurant is about, eating and enjoying and having fun.

Family-style dining has always been one of the attractions at your restaurant. I think before you encouraged it, the only family-style dining was in Chinese restaurants. You know, when we were kids and growing up, my dad would take us to Chinese restaurants because he loved to eat that way. He’d order so much food because he just wanted to try it all, so we would always order everything family style. And it just became our way of eating, even when restaurants didn’t want us to order that way. (laughs)

Your 10th anniversary celebration is a tribute to your dad. He was a huge character. Yes, he really was. We’re going to celebrate him by doing what he would have done: We’re going to have a big party. Ricky Peterson, the keyboard player who’s written and produced with Prince, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, George Benson, Anita Baker, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Joe Sample, Sting … to name just a few, will be joining me and the guys who make up The Funk-A-Holics (Mark Caldiera, Konrad Kendrick and Daniel Aquino). We opened the restaurant 10 years ago, and we’ll be getting back together for the night July 26.

And the food? A celebration of my dad’s favorite dishes: ahi carpaccio, salad, opakapaka, filet Longhi and prawns Venice. All served family style, of course.