Founded in 1997 in Pacific Beach, Da Kine’s Plate Lunches embraces unpretentious Hawaiian culture with a fast casual concept and come-as-you-are approach akin to island culture.
Responsible for introducing much of San Diego to Hawaiian cuisine, Da Kine’s operated in Pacific Beach between 1997 and 2008 under the leadership of Nelson Ishii, better known by locals as “Uncle Nelson.” Hailing from Kanaeohe where he was “born before Hawaii was a state” Uncle Nelson turned a love for his homeland into an important part of San Diego’s Hawaiian history. He attended college in San Diego in 1976, then returned to Hawaii for eight years before moving permanently to San Diego in 1989. A series of jobs, including at Motu Hawaii, eventually led to the opening Da Kine’s, through which he has adamantly supported local youth sports, law enforcement, child welfare services, Father Joe’s and St. Vincent De Paul. In 2008 Da Kine’s closed its brick and mortar concept to focus on catering for events including Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego and the Junior World Golf Championships.
Uncle Nelson’s newly opened Da Kine’s location has been in the works since January 2019. Its virtually unchanged menu still follows his original recipes for plates like Teriyaki Chicken (Da Kine’s signature sauce can also be ordered by the pint), Kalua Pig with shredded cabbage, local style Macaroni Salad, Polynesian style mashed taro, Chicken Katsu, and ribs served Korean Style or Sweet and Sour.
“So many Da Kine’s loyal customers, people who remember eating at our original beach location, kept asking me to open another place that they could come to eat,” said Ishii. “I couldn’t keep saying no after everyone kept asking!”
About Da Kine’s Plate Lunches: Established in 1997, Da Kine’s Plate Lunches is among San Diego’s most respected Hawaiian eateries and is led by locally beloved “Uncle Nelson” Ishii. Open Tuesday through Sunday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. beginning October 27) at 5401 Linda Vista Road, Da Kine’s Plate Lunches specializes in casual and well-priced Hawaiian fare such as Kalua Pig and Chicken Teriyaki for dine-in guests and to-go orders and offers a range of catering options. Contact Da Kine’s Plate Lunches at 858.302.2096 and learn more at www.dakines.com and on Instagram at @DaKinesPlateLunches.