He Lives Aloha
Steele Platt via Facebook wrote:My Hawaii: My family moved to Oahu from San Diego in 1968. We arrived on the SS Lurline from San Francisco and pulled up to the Aloha Tower. My Dad was a Submarine Commander in the Navy. We lived on Waikiki Beach in a little motel for two weeks where the Sheraton is now. I remember having dinner with my Dad at Chuck’s Steakhouse in Waikiki when I was 10. I’ll never forget my first taste of Pineapple Sherbet as a kid at an ice cream stand on the beach. I remember when Kalakaua wasn’t a one way street.
We lived at McGrew Point in military housing right next to Pearl Harbor. I remember watching from the edge of Pearl Harbor the movie Tora Tora Tora being filmed. I went to Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary for 4th & 5th grade. I was a JPO (junior police officer helping students cross the street while stopping cars). I remember when the McDonald’s Big Mac first came out when I was in 4th grade. I went to The Checkers and Pogo show and remember the Banana Splits and Treasure Island on tv. I went down the Super slide. I remember when the first Burger King came to Hawaii. My Mom was one of the hula dancers who greeted the astronauts who walked on the moon when they arrived to Hawaii.
We moved to Kailua In 1969. Only one traffic light at the time in the center of town. I went to Akahi Park Elementary School for 5th and 6th grade. I went to Kalaheo for 7th and 8th grade. My first record was The Jackson Five. I went to the Santana / Rolling Stones Concert at the HIC when I was in 7th grade. I worked at the McDonalds in downtown Kailua. I went to the Drive In off the Pali Highway for movies. My favorite restaurant was Mui Kwai in Kaneohe. I went to high-school at Our Redeemer Lutheran on University Boulevard by UH. I surfed before and after school mostly at Waikiki Beach. I loved Pattie’s Chinese kitchen in Ala Moana. I remember early mornings at the north shore surfing and no lines at Matsumoto’s shaved ice in Haleiwa. I remember watching the Hawaiian Islanders play baseball at the old stadium. I remember a whole summer at Sandy Beach when I drove my 1962 VW from Kailua to Sandy Beach everyday in the summer of 1976. I loved stopping and buying Manapua from the food trucks in Waimanalo. My Prom was at Sealife Park and Country Comfort played for us. I remember Farrell’s Ice Cream at the International Market Place. I always thought hot malasadas were better than doughnuts and huli huli chicken was better then KFC. And there is nothing better than cold macaroni salad and steamed white rice served on local plate lunches.
I remember going to Territorial Tavern and listening to Olomana. I remember going to see C&K at the HIC. I remember going to Makaha and listening to the Makaha Sons of Niihau with IZ in the band (and getting stoned from Maui Wowee for the first time!). I remember watching the movie Jaws in Waikiki when I was 17 and never looked at the ocean the way I did before I saw the movie. I gathered Puka shells along the beach and made my own necklace. I made my own skim board out of ply wood and resin. I made plumeria leis with my Mom. I remember my Mom listening to Aku on the radio in the morning. I remember only four tv channels and no tv after midnight.
My Dad was a Captain on the Seaflite Hydrofoils after he retired from the Navy. I hung out with him on some trips to Maui and loved watching tourist get really seasick when the Hydrofoils would break down in the Molokai Channel. So sad. Lol.
I went to University of Denver and graduated In 1982 with a Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I got my first job after college on Maui where I worked at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Kaanapali Beach as a manager trainee for a year. I loved Azeca ribs. I loved Maui but knew I had to head back to the mainland to get a career job. (I found myself just surfing and getting more and more beach lazy - Hawaii style - lol).
I moved back to Denver in 1984. I opened my first restaurant in 1985 in Denver called Kailua’s. I moved to Newport Beach CA in 1991.
I am the Founder of Yard House Restaurants and wrote the original business plan in 1994 and opened the first Yard House in Long Beach CA in 1996. I was broke when I started the first Yard House and had no money. I opened over 16 Yard Houses across the United States from 1996-2007. I wanted to bring something back to Hawaii and decided to bring a Yard House to Waikiki. In 2007 the Waikiki Yard House opened providing over 200 jobs for locals. I felt it was the least I could do and hopefully it helped inspire Hawaii’s youth - that anyone living in Hawaii can succeed and bring back one’s success to help and give back to the islands ( just go and come back).
I sold Yard House to a public company - Darden Restaurants in 2012 for $585,000,000. There are currently 80 Yard House restaurants across the United States (I sold when there were 50 Yard House stores) and still growing. I’m retired now.
I loved growing up in Hawaii. I loved the people of Hawaii. I loved the food of Hawaii. Being a Haole I knew my place and respected the islands, it’s culture, it’s history, and it’s people. Although it was my home I can only say I was a visitor. Hawaii is the reason who I am. So many memories of Hawaii - it’s peace - it’s beauty - it’s tranquility - it’s ocean - it’s culture - its identity - it’s Aloha. I am fortunate to have been able to share the islands from those who had created so much. I will never forget “my” Hawaii. Mahalo nui loa. : ) #beproudhawaii