'Have you eaten yet?': Asian Restaurant Week shares traditional food, uplifts AAPI community

NOW: ’Have you eaten yet?’: Asian Restaurant Week shares traditional food, uplifts AAPI community

WAUWATOSA (CBS 58) -- Asian Restaurant Week starts Monday, and the week is one way you can celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the Milwaukee area.

One participating business is Ono Kine Grindz on North Ave. in Wauwatosa. It is a Hawaiian restaurant that aims to make you feel at home when you walk in.

"Ohana means 'no one left behind' in Hawaiian, it means family, and we have fortunately found ourselves in a loving family here," Ono Kine Grindz co-owner Guy Roeseler said.

The name Ono Kind Grindz means "delicious kinds of food," which is exactly what they try to make for the community.

"We make Hawaiian food. Hawaiian food is a culmination of the Pacific rim countries like China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Tahitian," Ono Kine Grindz co-owner David Lau said.

The restaurant is part of a long list of AAPI businesses sharing their cuisine during Asian Restaurant Week. The week, started in 2021 by ElevAsian as a way to uplift AAPI establishments, is a great time to try new dishes and immerse yourself in another person's traditions.

"We felt that food is a great connecter of people, building bridges by breaking bread is probably the best way to do it," said ElevAsian co-Founder Shary Tran.

"In Asian cultures, sharing food is a way to express care to one another. 'Have you eaten yet?' is something we hear a lot from our parents and loved ones as a way to express care and concern. It's our way to share our culture with the community as well."

For Lau, who grew up in Hawaii, connecting through food has changed his view on life, and he is proud to represent the Ahola State through Ono Kind Grindz.

"It taught me a lot about myself. When I lived in Hawaii, sometimes I was ashamed of being an immigrant or not being in the mainstream, but this is what I know. I know Hawaiian food. I know the Hawaiian culture as a first-generation Asian American," he said.

Asian Restaurant Week runs May 15-19. For a full list of participating restaurants, visit elevasianwi.com.

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