It’s 7 p.m. on a chilly Wednesday night, and adventurous diners are gathering at the first location for Honolulu’s fourth sold-out Dishcrawl. A few couples, small groups and a handful who are joining the Dishcrawl solo and for the first time, like me. All of us hungry, and all of us not quite sure what to expect.
Mystery progressive dinners are somewhat of a new concept to Honolulu, although Dishcrawl is already set up in 50 cities in the mainland and Canada. You take a little leap of faith when you sign up — you’ll know only one of the four restaurants, because you have to meet up there, and you know the four will be within walking distance of each other, and you’ll be trying a few items at each. Kind of like a pub crawl, but for food.
This time we were given a few clues to each stop about 48 hours prior. We were also tipped off that the four restaurants were BYOB, in case we wanted to bring along wine or beer. I could guess two of the four pretty easily, but one of the clues had me completely stumped.
According to Dishcrawl organizer Papiloa Jourdan, the concept is really catching on as restaurants have turned up the competition and each wants to win over the group. Last minute-cancellations are rare, but she’s considering starting a waiting list “just in case” now that she’s had to turn away a handful of guests each time.
After cruising up and down the streets of Kaimuki, I can see why. Here’s a glimpse into our Waialae Avenue crawl.
Dishcrawl After Dark (1 of 13)
The night starts off a bit subdued. People trickle in to Bella Mia, our first spot in Kaimuki. Tucked away off Waialae Avenue, this little pizza joint features the classic checkered tablecloths, New York memorabilia on the walls, and one of the owners, Jimmy, hand-tossing pizza dough in the kitchen.
Here our group of 45 Dishcrawlers takes up almost the entire restaurant. I've never been, so this is a great way for me to sample a few dishes and get peek at Bella Mia.
Coming Dishcrawls: Jan. 27 and Feb. 6