Grace Simon

Photo courtesy Grace Simon

Occupation: Mid City
Restaurant Supply, Saleswoman

Where were you born and raised? Korea. I came to Hawaii when I was a baby.

Did you grow up in a food-centric home? Being Korean, my parents always cooked at home. So we had tons of good food, but it was always Korean food. We didn’t cook or eat anything outside of that. My interest in restaurants and in food came as soon as I got my first job.

Which was where? Baskin Robbins in Alaska. I know, it’s weird (laughs), but we moved to Alaska for a couple of years. As soon as we came back to Hawaii, I started working in the restaurant industry.

It seems that you have always had an interest in the service side of the industry rather than the kitchen. Yeah, when I was a child and we’d go out I was fascinated by the job waitresses did. Even as a really young child I remember thinking I wanted to do that. And when I started working in restaurants, I just loved the interaction between the people – the customers, the kitchen, the staff …

A lot of people don’t know that they can shop where chefs shop and buy the same kitchen things they use. Yes! And at fabulous prices (laughs). Mid City Restaurant Supply has a store where the public is welcome to come and browse. It’s at 500 Alakawa St. and is open Monday-Friday. We have everything a restaurant would need – and everything for home cooks, too.

You recently opened a restaurant (Pint and Jigger). Was service a big part of that vision for you? Yes! We really want people to feel that they belong, and that they know we’re grateful to them for coming to the restaurant. We do regular checks to make sure that people are feeling good about being here.

Favorite places to go when you’re not at either of your jobs? With two kids aged 4 and 1, it’s really hard to go anywhere (laughs), so CPK and Dave and Buster’s are good for family outings. We’re definitely regulars there. And without the kids we love to check out what’s going on at places like Manifest, Lucky Belly, town and, of course, P&J.

Do you cook at home? I do – mostly Korean food.

What’s always in your fridge? Kim chee – we have a separate kim chee fridge – and breakfast staples. We always eat breakfast together as a family.

With whom would you most like to have dinner? My dad. He passed away nine years ago, and if he could see what we’ve done it would be really awesome.