Thursday, August 14, 2014

Café Grace reboots bagel culture

Nadine Kam photos
Café Grace’s chicken Alfredo melt, finished with bacon.

Terumi Drake couldn’t help noticing over the years that her customers at Lox of Bagels enjoyed their bagels one way, simply slathered with plain or flavored cream cheese. But she knew the the bagel could be the basis of more substantial, creative fare, and has set out to prove it, rebooting bagel culture via an extension of her business, Café Grace by Lox of Bagels.

The new cafe opened its doors today with a blessing and taiko performance, as well as a media tasting of a handful of sandwiches and desserts.

In keeping with today’s sustainable, locally sourced ethos, the sandwiches are full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Highlights include a chicken Alfredo melt; bagel and egg combos on a taro bagel; and lox with jalapeño egg salad, for those who love the sting of heat.

As a grand opening special, the cafe is offering a bagel (excluding taro and cheese bagels) with plain cream cheese for $1 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 16, while supplies last. (The regular price is $2.75.)

The menu is more adventurous than Lox of Bagels Dillingham location, and this is just a start. One item on their "coming soon" roster is bagel French toast. Waiting for that one!

Thunderous taiko rhythms greeted guests at the grand opening of Café Grace by Lox of Bagels.

The Café Grace staff, led by president Terumi Drake, third from left, and general manager Stacy Kim, second from right, is blessed before entering the cafe. In the center is the cafe’s namesake Grace, Drake’s 17-year-old daughter.

Lox topped with spicy jalapeño egg salad is likely to become one of cafe’s best sellers.

Egg appears on the menu many times. Below, a cross-section reveals an egg omelet layered with ham and cheese on a taro bagel.

Café Grace is on the Kawaiahao Street end of Imperial Plaza, 725 Kapiolani Bouldevard. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call (808) 492-1493.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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