Mike Byers | Secret Menus For Honolulu Magazine

September 27, 2010    Michael Byers

Levy Creative Management artist MIKE BYERS hits up another great illo for Honolulu Magazine. This one I think that we are all guilty for. Read below for the article.

levy creative management, mike byers, honolulu magazine, illustration, menu

Honolulu’s Secret Menus

The down-low on Honolulu’s secret menus.

In some circles,  it is considered uncouth to alter a restaurant order.

Then there is the lesser-known practice of ordering off the menu entirely. At a growing number of Honolulu eateries, ordering from the “secret menu” is a tenable yet iffy practice. These unofficial menus are elusive, partly because there’s no guarantee the person behind the counter will know what you’re talking about, and also because secret- menu items tend to be nutritionally outrageous.

For those who are new to the concept, Jamba Juice at Kahala Mall is a good place to start. The employees we asked said their secret menu is so well loved that it’s “not much of a secret, really.” Go for the pomegranate-infused PB & J, or the Pink Star, whose devotees insist has a flavor uncannily similar to a pink Starburst.

Looking for something more substantial? Head to L&L for unofficial items like the extra-spicy katsu chicken—hot enough to make a grown man cry—or the Secret Musubi Trio, with three types of meat piled on a single block of rice.

We’re told if you catch the right server at the right Genki Sushi location, you can get the Ultimate Trio—three pieces of sashimi flash-seared in rice vinegar—for $2. Among local hot-dog enthusiasts, it’s not much of a secret that Hank’s Haute Dogs created the Obama Dog (a Chicago-style dog made with sausage).

McDonald’s also has an extensive secret menu, which includes simple classics such as grilled cheese, as well as creations like the Land, Sea and Air burger: beef, chicken and fish patties stacked in a single bun. Crazier still is the Monster Mac, which reportedly packs an eight-patty wallop. Ask for a Neapolitan and you’ll get a milkshake swirled with chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

At Starbucks, ordering a Biscotti Frapuccino gets you frothed milk and coffee churned up with—you guessed it—a whole biscotti in it. There’s also the London Fog: steamed milk, vanilla syrup and a bag of Earl Grey tea.

Secret menus offer creative and often silly alternatives to standard fare, and the best way to find out what’s on them is to ask directly. Every awkward or confused non-response is worth the conspiratorial wink-wink you’ll get from the server who knows the secrets, and is willing to spill.