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Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 164: Ono Hawaiian Plates

Channeling the spirit of aloha

Kalua pork fans needn’t wait in hour-long lines anymore to get their mitts on a delectable mixed platter from Ono Hawaiian Plates.

Ono was launched last year by two Maui transplants: Warren Seta was born and raised in Hawaii, and Jess Kelley lived there for 17 years. They met on the high-end restaurant circuit, where Seta cooked private dinners for the likes of Thomas Keller and Bill and Melinda Gates. Here in Minnesota, the couple took on regular catering gigs and hosted pop-ups at breweries, churches, and Cook St. Paul while holding down regular day jobs. Wherever they went, throngs of food obsessives followed for a taste of their brilliant Hawaiian sunshine.⁣

The pair eventually landed a semi-permanent space at North Loop Galley in downtown Minneapolis. The only problem? Coronavirus. Their year-long contract at the new food hall, which also houses SoulFu and Wrecktangle Pizza, was frozen in March during the statewide shutdown. The team scrambled to find a curbside pickup solution with no actual curb and found a workaround via weekly preorders.⁣

But hey, good news! North Loop Galley reopened this week. Takeout and table-side orders can now be placed online or by phone. If it’s your first time, go classic with Ono’s cultishly popular Spam musubi rolls and a platter of mayo-kissed macaroni salad, fluffy white rice, panko-crusted chicken katsu, and shredded pork shoulder. The portions are so hefty, you could use the takeout container to do bicep curls.⁣

Also recommended: following Ono on Facebook and Instagram for a heads up on the rotating menu. Past specials have included mahi-mahi with pineapple salsa and beurre blanc sauce, a surf-and-turf combo of garlic shrimp and bulgogi barbecued beef, and Korean short rib tacos. 🐷🍍🍙💥😋

Ono Hawaiian Plates
North Loop Galley, 729 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 808-365-8802.