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Aug 02, 2017

Made From Scratch

It's a busy Friday lunch rush in the newly opened Scratch Kitchen and Meatery. A crowd of hungry patrons—many of which are years-long devotees of the chef/owner Brian Chan's famous fare—mingle and chit-chat as they await their meal.

In the kitchen, a young man covered in tattoos and sporting a baseball cap busily chops his way through an onion before adding it to a sizzling skillet.

Instantly, it's clear that this is his kitchen. This, is Brian Chan's place.

Hailing from Chinatown, Chan grew up just down the street from Ward Village and has always felt comfortable in the kitchen. His family, practically a dynasty in the Honolulu culinary world, owns and operates the wildly successful Little Village Noodle House. With a legacy like that, it's no surprise that Chan would himself become a chef. And while it's easy to assume that Chan may have gone on to focus only on Chinese cuisine, when he eventually opened up his own place, he opted to serve down-home and delicious Southern comfort food.

Scratch's famous Milk & Cereal pancakes are one of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

"I've always loved Southern cuisine, and you don't see a lot of it in Hawai'i, but I know that people really have developed a taste for that type of cooking," Chan says with an easy smile. "When I see the delighted reaction of someone who's just tasted our shrimp and grits for the first time, or the chicken-fried deviled eggs, it just makes me feel so good."

A few years ago, Chan opened Scratch Kitchen and Bakery in Chinatown. Serving up the scratch-made comfort food he'd fallen in love with, the restaurant became an instant hit, often drawing a line out the door. Quaint and cozy, Scratch's Chinatown location had proven so successful that Chan opted to expand, opening a second location—with quite a bit more room—right here at South Shore Market. This concept, Scratch Kitchen and Meatery, features many of the original crowd-favorites, including Milk & Cereal pancakes, as well as some new hits and specials. But of all the new features he wields in his kitchen, Chan is most excited about his smoker.

Since they first opened their doors, Scratch has been busy cooking up their famous fare for leagues of hungry guests.

"I don't know if you saw my kitchen in Chinatown but it's tiny! This new location is almost exactly one-third larger than the original Scratch. My kitchen here it's half the size of the restaurant – so I looked around and got almost every piece of equipment that was on my wish list – a smoker, grill, burner for large stockpots," he says with a laugh. "Our smoker will be going all day, every day with some kind of meat; brisket, hams, chicken, bacon, etc. There will always be something in there!"

Of course, as you might assume, everything is made from scratch in the new location. "My philosophy is to make food in small batches. I would rather sell out of something than have too much of something then pass it on to the customer the following day. We try to prep just enough to get through the day and keep everything fresh."

Whether you're opting for Scratch's legendary Milk & Cereal pancakes or their savory shrimp and grits, you're guaranteed to leave satisfied and hankering for more of Brian's seductive creations. Make sure you scratch this restaurant off your must-eat list, whether you're there for brunch or dinner.

Scratch Kitchen and Meatery is now open for both lunch and dinner and will be serving their delicious cuisine until 9 pm every night except Sundays.

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