SoHo Chic

Gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca opens its doors in Waikiki.

There’s a New York transplant making waves in Honolulu. It’s got classic East Coast charm, a signature New York City dessert and a name you might recognize. Dean & DeLuca, the gourmet grocery store set to open in Th e Ritz-Carlton Residences and the Royal Hawaiian Center, brings their tempting selection of specialty foods to Waikiki this fall.

What started as a luxury grocery store on a mission to become purveyors of fine food in the edgy and artist-heavy SoHo district in 1970s Manhattan, quickly caught on with New Yorkers. It was a chic emporium of food that introduced folks to a turn-of-the-century food department and never-before-seen specialty ingredients. For the first time, people were exposed to the likes of extra virgin olive oil from Italy, small-batch cheeses made in France and crates of fresh radicchio for bold-tasting salads.


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Dean & DeLuca is set to open at both the Ritz-Carlton Residences and also at Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki this fall. (photo courtesy Dean & DeLuca)

Dean & DeLuca fast became a destination for both New York foodies and visitors who headed to the gourmet store for their morning coffee or weekend picnic spread. Even as the gourmet grocer expanded to a number of cosmopolitan cities over the past 40 years, the shop still breathes an air of Manhattan charm. In every location, you’ll recognize the signature minimalist look—black and white interiors, marble floors, white tile walls and glass display cases filled with fresh meat, fish or produce. Th is traditional Dean & DeLuca design follows the store to every new location from Washington D.C. to Dubai—and now, Waikiki.

Another Dean & DeLuca trademark that makes New Yorkers salivate is the store’s in-house chocolate babka. Babka, a traditional Jewish loaf cake, is made from twisted braids of yeast dough with chocolate or cinnamon intertwined and topped with crumbly streusel. You can join the debate on whether chocolate or cinnamon babka reigns supreme, but common consensus declares chocolate the winner. Its gooey, chocolate swirls and buttery pull-apart pieces (how babka should be if done right) are delightful, and Dean & DeLuca’s version sets the standard for the treat.

Inside the Ritz-Carlton Residences location, the store’s layout is tweaked a bit for its clientele. Th at means the first floor of the luxury market is a casual and classic Dean & DeLuca experience, while the second floor is a more intimate setting you’d want to visit for a glass of Chardonnay with a friend.

Lisa Kageyama, Dean & DeLuca’s International Food & Beverage Merchant, says, “Beachgoers will have the option to pick up snacks or lunch, and early risers can enjoy coffee and an açaí bowl on the outdoor patio.” Freshly baked pastries, a complete espresso bar and honey and jams from local artisans are on the first floor, too. As for the second floor, Managing Director Geoff Upham says, “The second level will have lounge seating and a selection of salads, cheeses and charcuterie.” Where the first floor is more of a coffee-and-pastry environment, the second floor is the place diners can sip wine and stay a while.

And while you won’t actually be in New York, Dean & DeLuca will make you feel like Grand Central Station and brownstone-lined streets aren’t too far away.

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