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Uncles – KHON Interview

Uncles Fish Market & Grill on the Channel 2 News

By KHON News

 Circle, highlight and underline Wednesday, June 27th on your calendar. That’s the day Uncle’s Fish Market and Grill opens its doors to the public. From what we saw (and ate) today, this place could be a big winner in the Honolulu dining scene.

Owner Bruce Johnson goes back to 1977 when he founded Fresh Island Fish and purchased the day’s catch from Ma`alaea Harbor fishermen. From that humble beginning he opened retail and wholesale businesses over the years on Maui, Hawai`i Island, O`ahu and Kaua`i. Along the way, he’s expanded his operations to include numerous commercial sources from throughout the Pacific, the Honolulu Fish Auction and many locals. His customers range from the biggest hotels and restaurants to smaller, family oriented places like Uncle’s. He sees no reason why the rest of us shouldn’t get a chance to eat the same kine quality like in big time places.

One of the many lessons he’s picked up over the years: freshness, sanitation and strict adherence to safe handling means a quality product in the market place and in Manolo’s mouth. We’d hate to pay his refrigeration and ice bills, but that’s the way its gotta be when it comes to preserving the taste and texture of fine, fresh fish.

Johnson went with the name “Uncle’s” to express his mahalo to all the uncles who influenced him in his early days on Maui, passing along recipes, fishing tips and making a good aku angler out of him.

Geoffrey Arakawa cooks it to order for you, Holly Crise sees to it that your meal gets to your table fresh and hot. Denise Fernandez has the job of making sure we all know about this new place at Pier 38, just a few steps down the street from the fish auction area. (She must be doing good–she got us to come this morning; though we didn’t need to be prodded much.)

A meal starts at about $8.50, though prices can fluctuate a bit due to supply. But if it swims, scurries or just sits there on the bottom of the ocean, you’ve got a good shot at finding something you like on the Uncle’s menu.

They got oysters! (O.K., they got burgers and salads, too.)

They’ve tried to express a feeling of aloha in their new 80-seat location and you can judge from the video just how good they did. They’ve even reserved a place next to the deli case where anybody can drop in and kanikapila plugged or acoustic.

At Uncle’s they say if it’s fish, it’s fresh, full of flavor and fun.

And it’s ono plenty.

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