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Being from Southern California, I was raised on eating really great Mexican food. It’s my favorite type of food. So, naturally anytime we travel to Hawaii I scout out places to eat Mexican food. However, in my opinion, it is hard to find really great Mexican food in Hawaii. That was until I ate at Margaritas Hawaii. This little hidden gem is the best Mexican food I have found in Hawaii.
In my conversation with the owners of Margaritas Hawaii, we talk about how it all started and where they got their inspiration for their dishes. Margaritas is more than a taco, burrito, and margarita place. They have done an amazing job at creating dishes that infuse Hawaiian culture.
So, next time you’re on Oahu, be sure to stop by Margaritas for their epic nacho boat!

In This Episode

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Bryan Murphy 0:00

Being from Southern California finding good Mexican food is one of the most important things in my life. However, trying to find good Mexican food in Hawaii, I have found is pretty hard until we found margaritas on the island of Oahu. early this year, my wife Allie and I, we were on a wahoo for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau convention. And we wanted to, you know, try some new spots. And I've been following these guys on Instagram for quite some time. And I got to talking with the owners, Douglas and Lawrence. And we set something up when we're there. And it was just great getting to know one another and hearing their story. They grew up on the island of Hawaii and they grew up with this passion for Mexican food and Mexican cuisine and throughout their life. They've been modeled by their parents, this entrepreneurial mindset. It's been cool to see what they've been able to do with this amazing restaurant. So in our conversation today, we just want to Weren't you we talked about everything from Mexican food, to margaritas to Monica to affordable housing and construction. This is an eclectic conversation, but it was so much fun having the opportunity to hang out with these guys. So I really hope that you enjoy listening in on our conversation today. So shake up a drink, and let's cue the intro.

Hawaii's Best 1:24

Aloha. Welcome to Hawaii's Best travel podcast where we help you prepare for your next trip to Hawaii. Discover the experiences businesses and stories that make Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host, Brian Murphy.

Bryan Murphy 1:40

Before we dive in today's conversation I just want to quickly talk about CBD the benefits of CBD are many and recently I personally found it has helped me with occasional anxiety and helping to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. You know honestly, you know at first I was even a bit reluctant to try CBD and for some reason It just seemed kind of taboo. But after getting over myself and doing a little bit more research, I have found that with regular use it has really helped me and the team at material CBD believes that CBD should be available to all those in need at an affordable price. And this is a brand that I use and I trust and I know there's so many CBD products on the market today, it's so important to do your research. I trust these guys. I've been using their products for almost a year, and their product line ranges from immunity boosters to gummies to rolling applications and even CBD products for your pet. So go to live Hawaii's Best calm slash CBD and for Hawaii's Best listeners you can get 15% off of your first purchase by using the code Hawaii. So go to live Hawaii's best.com slash CBD, promo code Hawaii for 15% off your first purchase. Well welcome to Episode 30 of Hawaii's Best and Hawaii's Best we help prepare you for your next trip to Hawaii. I'm your host, Brian Murphy, the owner of Hawaii's Best and on our blog and podcast. We offer travel guides, tips, cultural insights to get the most out of your stay on the islands. And I know many of you are in anticipation of when you can travel back to the islands and at the time of this recording, this is June 16 2020. And it always changes this whole when is Hawaii gonna reopen again? Well, today, inter Island travel is now open inter Island travel without having to quarantine for 14 days. So inter island that means like traveling Island Island, like if you're going to Maui to Oahu, that is lifted the 14 day quarantine is lifted. That's great news. If you follow the news at all, if you're looking at the news in Hawaii at all, there's a lot of talk about what does travel from the mainland and what is international travel to Hawaii. What is that going to look like in the future? The quick answer is I'm not sure it changes like day to day. There's all these theories and there His thoughts about what travel to Hawaii will look like in the future. In my opinion, I think we're gonna see something in the next couple of weeks. And you're gonna want to stay up to date on this podcast and on our blog, because we're going to be updating the news as soon as we hear. And as soon as we know what travel back to Hawaii is going to look like. It's going to look different. I think we can all agree on that. I think we all can agree that we want it to be safe, we want it to be beneficial. And we want to travel responsibly. So stay up to date on future episodes, hit subscribe, because we'll be continually giving updates as to when travel will begin to open up. So this interview was recorded a few months ago and I held off on releasing it because as soon as we finished recording this interview COVID and everything went you know on lockdown and pause so it didn't make sense releasing this content then now locally, things are starting to open up again. I reached out to the guys at Margaritaville They're like, yeah, posted the restaurant is is busy as hoppin. So that just made me feel really good. Because I know during this time, it's been so important that we take care of our local communities first and it's and it's great to see restaurants like Margarita starting to pick back up again. Get New Life breathe into them, as you listen in our conversation today. But in on that bucket list next time you go to wahoo you're gonna want to make sure you check out margaritas because you love Mexican food. This is a place you do not want to miss. So let's head on over and we're going to talk story with Douglas and Lawrence from margaritas. Hawaii.

Lawrence, Doug, thanks so much for hanging out with me today. How you guys doing?

Unknown Speaker 5:48

Great chillin. Good. Awesome, Brian. Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Bryan Murphy 5:52

Yeah, absolutely. A little while ago, Ali and I we were visiting you guys on location and I just want to say thanks again, for Your hospitality and it was amazing talking a little bit and and tasting something amazing food and your drinks but want to even go even more in depth from our time there and share it with everyone who's listening right now. So how did Margarita is start like where did this all begin the vision behind it?

Unknown Speaker 6:16

Yeah well we've always really loved Mexican food my guess kids we've we've grown up with it besides Asian food. It was a lot of a lot of Mexican food so we loved it

Unknown Speaker 6:25

there and again our own guacamole from where we were little super simple guacamole from the avocado and everything and also just making our own fajita fires where you wrap up your own poetry as and everything so we will let's go out and eat Mexican food as well as a family like almost at least once a week. So there's there's those that have been that passion for Mexican food. But I mean, I guess like more of how like family the whole thing started was just, we wanted to start a business and we had a friend that was at a Mexican restaurant, please the chef there and we ended up wanting to go into a partnership with them for the business but I mean, because of some other reasons. We became the sole sole owner of the restaurant and but we still all work together there for margaritas. Now you guys grew up on Island. Yeah, we actually grew up on Hawaii for the first four years, maybe two, four years. moved over here. There's just better education here. So yeah, so pretty much pretty much just going off on a walkthrough but like, Yeah, when we were real little collide with where we were born.

Bryan Murphy 7:28

Did you guys grow up with this business minded entrepreneurial upbringing from your parents? or What was that?

Unknown Speaker 7:33

Yeah, I think so. I mean, our dad has always had his own construction business, and our mom was helping him out with the business side of things. So you know, since we were going out there, everything was always family based and family run. Yeah, we got some some, some properties on other islands and everything that we kind of try to develop that then try to maybe trying to improve properties. And everything because my dad's got a construction background. So he that was always his thing. Yeah. And we actually went to school for construction. So my brother studied engineering and architecture. And we went off to our separate jobs. You know, I did, I did architecture at a firm in LA and brothers working here, not a big company here. And we ended up just not really vibing with the culture, the office culture, for me is the office culture.

Unknown Speaker 8:25

It's like we're stuck. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 8:29

Yeah, grind. Yeah, the grind. I mean, I don't know who vibes with it.

Bryan Murphy 8:34

It's a different grind.

Unknown Speaker 8:35

It's a different grind, but it's way more satisfying, because everything that you do is for yourself. And I'm sure you know that because of you know, your own podcast. I you have an interesting background as well.

Bryan Murphy 8:50

Yeah, totally random. You guys been open for a little bit? Yeah. Two years now. Two years. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 8:57

Yeah, it was pretty rough in the start.

Unknown Speaker 8:59

Yeah. A lot of A lot of different changes from the beginning. From the beginning when we bought the when we bought the property and everything your or outside patio wasn't built out at all. It's just a little rustic fence between our, our inside of our restaurant to the street, the aesthetics and the branding has kind of evolved over time.

Bryan Murphy 9:16

Oh, yeah, as a menu pretty much been the same.

Unknown Speaker 9:19

Yeah, well, at the start, you know, our initial idea was just talk with him. Just keep it really simple. Right. Okay. So when we when we got one of the chefs on board, the ones culinary school, he's an expert at Mexican food. He actually just wanted to serve his own dishes, but he didn't want to serve out burritos. case to do is you know, the very simple, basic type of thing at the time it was it was kind of a struggle because people would come in and they'd say, there's no burrito here. What kind of Mexican places this No, you guys doing here? But a lot of our really intricate sauces have come from his recipes. And, you know, there was a There was a lot of gain to be had with that as far as our sauces, like everyone said is really, really good. It's all homemade from scratch. Our case of dip is all this, like it's all very fresh and very got very good compliments from all of our customers and everything. And this was developed over time as well from the beginning of the restaurant, and but the concept has has been pretty much the same from the beginning. It's always been to have that healthy Mexican cuisine versus like the very oily food that you would find maybe somewhere else. Try to cater to gluten free people to try to cater to vegetarians or vegans. A lot of people are health conscious for what they put in their bodies nowadays. So especially in Hawaii, yeah, and especially in Hawaii, and I'm sure California, la everyone's like everyone's realizing Okay, or like maybe if you're not even gluten free, gluten free but whatever. We got an

Unknown Speaker 10:57

allergy or preference

Bryan Murphy 11:01

Yes to find their way

Unknown Speaker 11:03

you know, we got you.

Bryan Murphy 11:06

I was greeted by Mexican food. There's so many options. Oh, exactly, to be able to cater towards, you know, gluten free vegetables or so

Unknown Speaker 11:13

when they're fresh, like they look so nice and colorful and vibrant and it's very easy to put these little things together make a Mexican dish that's vegetarian and also tastes good. Like instead of maybe a bulk of burgers.

Bryan Murphy 11:29

Yeah, so over time, the menu has kind of evolved if you've listened or have heard some feedback from those early customers and you know, the one thing that caught my eye was, I could still get an amazing taco but your menu was also kind of eclectic too and that you offer some pokey dishes as well. Maybe speaking to that and how that you've married some of that was kind of known for cuisine in Hawaii. And for some reason, the whole you know, mainland is like, oh, poker has been like this huge thing. You know, the last Hawaii is always been, you know, so maybe talk a little bit of how you infuse some of that within what your dishes

Unknown Speaker 12:06

when we're in the kitchen or we're just hanging out the restaurant. We just were trying out our dishes and we're just like, hey, what tastes good?

Unknown Speaker 12:13

What do we like to eat here?

Unknown Speaker 12:14

But we're not trying to follow the traditional Mexican cuisine because I mean, if you just stick to that, then nothing new or interesting is gonna be made.

Unknown Speaker 12:23

Yeah, we eat the food at margaritas every day. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:31

That's a really good thing too, as well. Like, I mean, we can literally experience like every part of the menu and see what adds the customer What do you feel from it and what do you want to change and what would you want added as well? Yeah, okay. was just we love okay.

Unknown Speaker 12:49

Okay, okay. We've been really

Unknown Speaker 12:52

cooking nachos we makes okay to start us. Yeah, like there's no there's no magic in place. It's gonna have a okay nachos. I mean, it's got such good reception. During Hawaii, even though we're a Mexican restaurant before this and actually I don't know I think it's mostly local settlers

Bryan Murphy 13:09

Okay, so then what are some of your guys's favorite dishes right now on menu? oh

Unknown Speaker 13:13

boy oh so every single time the fish comes in by like I want to know because then that okay is gonna be so good like that day or yeah even next couple of days after so we the Poke a there on me I love all the seafood dish that we have to VGA I love the CV che over there everything very fresh. That's why Yeah, it's very small Rashad goes out fast. Exactly. Other dishes like the bar fajita platters or shore enchiladas are really big plates. Like if you're hungry like I just I could mop that and just feel so good.

Unknown Speaker 13:47

But over a bench a lot of walk barely

Unknown Speaker 13:49

tacos and beef tongue tacos, probably the best. My favorite top of the top of everything white and specially unique kinda to the restaurant a bit. I'll just be eating Pokeballs I mean, I want to put that on the language too. Hello, okay, so I want to put all this all this different stuff on the menu but you get some feedback sometimes like what is this? We don't really know what to call this. We are considered a Mexican restaurant so I guess we got to stick within those that category but just sometimes like we get like people that think like okay authentic Mexican food is like it's supposed to be this whatever you think it is supposed to be. I don't know if this text Max is like a lot of people fill their perception about that the Americans tweeted, it could be correct or it could be wrong, like it does. People everyone's got their own different take on it. And the thing is, like always very slow to like kind of accept some changes like it's, it's always kind of a little bit behind everywhere else where they're changing LA and California and everything like that. So they won't go see like a lot of the perception is that they don't like change so that when, like new concepts come in, it's a little bit harder to take. But I think eventually like everyone would just appreciate what what it is. Good food that it is. And even if it's a little different from whether you see,

Bryan Murphy 15:05

I can't imagine it's hard. I mean, you guys are both creative and then try to put that creativity in a box, especially with food. And I mean, that's art in itself. I know. That's probably Yeah, pretty difficult. But having tried many different Mexican places on Island, I haven't Honestly, this is like, unbiased. I haven't had anything close to what you guys serve up. And you know, being from Southern California. We're spoiled by amazing Mexican dishes, for sure. Through Tex Mex through, you know, the whole gamut. I think one of the things that caught at least my taste buds, what were your guys's drinks and tell me like this, the history about how your drinks came to be because not only are they they're really great, but they're, they're sourced locally and they're also just how you infuse some of the flavors like where did that all came out and who was behind that

Unknown Speaker 15:57

from the beginning actually, so Mom is the one that started the red fire and start owning the restaurant and everything like from the beginning, she was actually very, very good at selecting the type of tequila that we had in the in the shrine and she was she had a taste testing with tequila, she was able to understand what the differences between block o represented now just learned all of this, like what different tiers have to give it where So from there, we decided from there we're going to make high quality drinks with this high quality 100% blue got a tequila and use high quality sour mix high quality orange Of course, not the cheap lick wars that you would kind of probably find Waikiki where they're just mostly just kind of trying to mass produce for tourists. And then over here like it's just the quality of the ingredients is I would say like was what we attribute to the drinks the most. And also like what she says a lot is you eat or drink with your eyes first. So the way that it looks when it comes out is how you're gonna it's going to also increase your average Tie for that drink or food item. So a lot of what we do is try to prepare the glass and see what what looks better and what glasses what brands are good and what our strengths are good as well with it. I mean, overall, it's just it's just testing it over and over and just liking alcohol.

Bryan Murphy 17:26

Thanks mom

Unknown Speaker 17:30

gave us this outlet.

Bryan Murphy 17:32

So is it pretty much still a very family oriented and how you guys run things?

Unknown Speaker 17:37

Oh, definitely.

Unknown Speaker 17:38

Yeah. I mean, at first it was just her, like trying to do everything well, we were doing our own professional degrees and everything. And she, when we came in, we were able to help her take off a lot of loads of what she would have to do originally, like just everyday tasks and everything now, like, but buffer ideas for the restaurant were phenomenal and I think amazing. So we can let her focus on that a little bit. And then we'll just we can run operations as well. And it's, uh, it's easier for us to do as young guys as well.

Bryan Murphy 18:12

Right? And I'm sure with, you know, Dad support as well for sure kind of get into going and, I mean, when I was pulling up on your guys's property, you have a bunch of gray buildings. Yeah, that looks pretty, you know, just typical and a couple parking areas and then like, it's like, boom, there's a splash of green on a corner with this patio that refer to I know, Lawrence, I know put you on the spot, but you have some architecture background and you're able to infuse not just the exterior but also the interior and your design. You're wearing your shirt right now. I mean, I think that's pretty

Unknown Speaker 18:48

cool. Hawaii Mexican infuse This was made specifically for the for the restaurant. I don't know if you guys can see but yeah, there it is.

Bryan Murphy 18:56

Yeah, I can definitely link that so they can see that.

Unknown Speaker 18:59

You know, that's a little family. Yeah, we do try to keep this really small family environment. Yeah. So there's really just five of us that work the restaurant, we just try to keep it small. Even the customers that come in, we try to treat them like family to, you know, strike up conversation, see where they're from, if they're from out of town here, and everyone enjoys artwork, you know, I mean, people come in and they see the art and they like it they it's kind of a unique type of style of why contemporary art and it's just a really good opportunity for me to showcase it as well. Yeah, but yeah, I just I like to just keep my creativity running and think about new things that you know, to connect my boy culture and I think a lot of locals connect with that as well and tourists want to bring home but yeah, family is key and feeling comfortable in such a small restaurant is is what makes us unique to him. You know, making people feel like their family. So we have a lot of regulars and it's a good time as ever. Everyone feels good.

Bryan Murphy 19:56

Yeah. Lawrence if someone is coming to margaritas for the first time, when Maybe some dishes and Doug to what are some dishes that you would recommend? Obviously, your menu is is really wide but maybe if you just had to like, hey, first time here you got to make sure you you try this.

Unknown Speaker 20:12

Right. Okay, well we are called margaritas. So first thing if you are of age. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 20:22

Yeah. And it's a slide of a tequila shot as well. Yeah, yeah side of that. That's usually how I like to start my Margarita meals off shift. And, yeah, I like to start that off, and then I'll go for a Mexican chop salad. It's really fresh. It's really nice light. So you can start that off as an appetizer, dive into some tacos, so they're really small, so you just order a few and keep ordering it. And then I'd order a nachos plate. You have to try the nachos that are really hot. It's the most order dish at a restaurant and I personally think it's the best magic platter you'll find on the island and people have total Was that as well? Yeah, just fresh ingredients, you know, it's nothing special, just simple fresh ingredients and it's just really big platter so you'll be fulfilled. rkR pesos very good too. So that's what also enhance the nachos. A lot of cases case of cheese, which is on top of the nachos. Yeah, but yeah, all those items are really good. And on top of that, I would say pork belly tacos. Definitely out of all the tacos like gotta get Taco Bell. They are very good. But for fairly special for the restaurant in my opinion. Chicken wings are also done really well that chili wine wings and we use that to cut a couple different sauces that go really well with them as well. Yeah, and again, the nachos definitely have to grab a nachos like if it's just we've had so people just grab nachos by themselves. It's a really big platter. That's why Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 21:46

It's a boat platter.

Unknown Speaker 21:47

It's like a little thing you can set off into the ocean. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 21:50

so that leads to people grabbing nachos. Yeah, then Margarita is wise dragon fruit and guava. They're all over online. You can see the beautiful colors of these different flavored Margarita is very, very popular for taking pictures after you get the trick and everything, but also tastes awesome. Yeah, but we also have a bartender special now. So that's basically whatever type of concoction we've been messing around with. We'll put that out on the menu and, you know, someone will ask, Hey, what's the bartender especially today? Whatever we've been working with, we'll test it out and put it out then, you know, usually, usually people liked it.

Bryan Murphy 22:28

And if you show up on a Friday evening,

Unknown Speaker 22:31

oh, yes, notorious cut, okay.

Unknown Speaker 22:33

I mean, we've had like, because of the karaoke system, we've had many different like reservations for parties and stuff like that. It's like not just locals or tourists or anything but people that are local to the island that are like, immigrants like Bulgarians or Brazilian Brazilian party. Yeah, South America, cultures and everything. They love the vibe of the restaurants so much they say similar to home, that they want and have like parties there where they could sink Their own music, they can dance to their own types of languages, their own language of music and everything and so much fun with all the dances. Yeah. Alex saw the bartender they just joined in and the circle was started dancing together.

Bryan Murphy 23:18

So with you guys in Hawaii, all your lives, you know Hawaii's Best is all about someone who's coming to the islands say, you know, for the first time or who comes year after year, but the question I like to ask everyone we have on is if you're coming to the islands for the first time, what is something that you would want somebody to just to know about Hawaii? What to do, what not to do? Just from your guys's perspective, what would you say to that?

Unknown Speaker 23:40

I would say don't stay in Washington. If you want more of an authentic Hawaii experience. I would stay in an Airbnb somewhere in the North Shore. Yeah, get a car so you can travel Yeah, you don't want to be in a trolley. Unless you do. I'm speaking for myself. I don't know like, you just you just want the freedom of being able to explore the island go to different places. So get it rented car for a week or however long and then bikes and beaches you know they're everywhere. Yeah, definitely. Definitely that I totally agree. Yes they stay out of Waikiki. There's a lot of different things coming out of Waikiki, the other resort that's heavily stayed in as well as the Disney Resort in aulani. Over there that people can go inside. It's beautiful. Yeah, tell her like, don't get me wrong, but you can get trapped in there because it's so beautiful and not experienced the whole island of what else is out. There are so many good spots out there. Yeah, like pillbox is my best. My favorite sunrise hike. It's beautiful views. You have crouching lion. That's another hike down just views of the whole sea and you can see that three sunset. So you have two different sides, but I only see sunrise or sunset and very nice to see because we're so small, restaurants wise. I mean, Yelp. yelp is good. Like, you can find like good restaurants on Yelp, for sure. There's definitely a hole in the wall. So many good places to eat here. Try to venture forth and figure out what's going on. It's not that it's not that Hardware smart. Yeah, like you can do a lot of things within maybe the week that you're here. So,

Unknown Speaker 25:07

if you ever wanted to skydive, Hawaii is the place.

Unknown Speaker 25:10

If you want Mexican food tomorrow,

Bryan Murphy 25:20

sum it up, get out and explore the island. More so than just staying stagnant whether it be on the west side like aulani or even on North Shore like you want to get out and you want to explore the island and out there

Unknown Speaker 25:35

yeah, whatever you do, it'll be it'll be great like you just have to have that mindset to want to go venture forth our factory show zone and everything like something you're comfortable

Bryan Murphy 25:44

Yeah, and even hitting up Waikiki for the day is cool, because yeah, we get that iconic shot of like Diamond Head, you know, from the from the beach, like for someone to experience that. You got to experience at least once and obviously you're in Waikiki You know, this is just a short little drive over to Margarita so

Unknown Speaker 26:03

Oh totally. Why can't Why can't she is beautiful honestly, it's like don't get us wrong. We just we just kind of stray away from that area because we've got you don't want to just stay put and just Yeah, right exactly. I mean it's beautiful though it's just easy to carry experiments first

Bryan Murphy 26:20

yeah and there's so much it's it's easy to get kind of quote you know trapped in it because that could just be your only experience and why has so much more

Unknown Speaker 26:29

Yeah, walking down the strip is awesome I totally agree with that like there's a lot of shopping there's a lot of different like, don't get me wrong the food and the drinks are good. They're Yes, a little bit more expensive than other places but the venues are awesome to hang out with like Skye wife. She has a great car and everything to hang across.

Bryan Murphy 26:49

So kind of going back to Margarita is and what you guys are doing and I'm curious to learn more about just some of your background your whole family's background with Real Estate and with just being in the community, what are some things that you guys are looking forward to or currently doing?

Unknown Speaker 27:07

Right? So our background is from a construction environment. So we grew up on the construction side with our dad being a contractor. And so naturally, my brother became an engineer and I became an architect and went off separate jobs. Now we came back and trying to see what we can do for with our dad. And, you know, we started our own little business with that as well. And so right now Hawaii is in a sort of a crisis for affordable housing. And so, like in Waikiki, like what we were talking about, there's a lot of development going on on the south shore of the island. And a lot of people are being pushed out of it. And so what this does, is it makes Hawaii a lot less of an affordable place to live. And so Hawaii is scrambling now to figure out solution convinced and what they've come up with is an ordinance of a bill. To make it a lot easier for construction for developers, constructors and owners to develop a property for specifically for affordable housing, right, so this means now you can build an apartment that is six storeys high rather than four stories before. Now you can build an apartment without parking for an elevator. So it just eases the restrictions on it. And also the permitting process is a lot easier now. So before it will take months on end to get your plans permitted. But if it doesn't get approved within a month, it's automatically going to be streamlined to accept like the banks are also working with fi one. It's a lot easier to get a loan now only for this affordable housing so developers and homeowners or landowners that don't know what to do with their land. This is a pretty good opportunity now for me to develop it for affordable housing. We're a design build firm that specializes in construction that currently.

Bryan Murphy 29:07

I think that's amazing. You guys have some current projects in the works right now. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 29:13

yeah, we were wearing the schematic phases. So we're figuring out what the best and the cheapest way is to build these homes. But also not just to make it look like some cinderblock gray building that, you know, that's just irresponsible to Hawaii now, so affordable and also aesthetically pleasing some something that you'll be happy going home to know.

Bryan Murphy 29:37

Yeah, it sounds like more so than your guyses company. I mean, it sounds like everyone is from the banks to the state to the city are involved in this effort. Mm hmm. Yeah, they've made it a

Unknown Speaker 29:49

collective effort for everyone because everyone wins in the end. If you are a landowner, you don't have property tax for a certain amount of years. It's 10 years now. That's incredible you know you don't have to pay property tax if you if you have an affordable housing target the state loses out a bit because of that, but they become such a problem that they have to realize the situation that's happening right now to locals like if you used to live in town are getting pushed outside to the outskirts of the island where as foreign investors or will come in and just buy up everything within the town area, just a lot of development mostly developments in town. So they buy all this stuff but even though they don't truly live here and try to rent it out to two people for a high end for for a high rental value. So because of the the Hawaii problem now trying to just implement all these like bills and like ease up on the construction regulations so that they can have so we can have locals that live in town for full price, essentially. Yeah.

Bryan Murphy 30:52

So is it mainly kind of you say pushing out more on like the west side, West Side, West Side? Yeah, yeah, West Side. Yeah. This is because there's still quite a bit of land out there. So this these are new built in, but you're working with the landowner, like you mentioned Lawrence people who have had this land for a while, and like, not really quite sure what to do with it. But having going back to the community is something that is obviously attractive to them.

Unknown Speaker 31:17

Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's, it's a, it's socially responsible, right? It's, I mean, it'll slap in a breaker bank, it's gonna it's gonna be affordable for you, and then then you save a lot of money to so everybody wins. You know, the banks know that it's going to make money. So they are not afraid to loan you in the beginning. Because these affordable apartments, they're going to be filled up, you're going to be making rats and they won't be able to pay off your loan. So you don't you don't have to pay off your loan under construction until when it's built. That's the point when we can start paying off your your loan. So it's a it's a win win for everybody.

Bryan Murphy 31:54

Right? do you envision the landscape of Waikiki changing at all because of all this?

Unknown Speaker 31:59

I'm not sure about exactly right there and by the key point like right outside of it like is where the developments happening right now the question is when is there going to be a point where development stops is that what is what is their what is their the stopping point where it's like I don't think

Unknown Speaker 32:15

we've had enough we

Unknown Speaker 32:17

have enough let's keep Hawaii Hawaii let's keep it great. No more concrete or steel. And

Unknown Speaker 32:23

but i don't know i don't think so.

Bryan Murphy 32:26

Now do you guys see this being a need on other islands?

Unknown Speaker 32:29

What's definitely it's just that most of the development right now or interested people, but with all the other islands, they have this whole it's more of a closed off to the rest of the world. They don't want outsiders there. They don't want change to happen. They don't want development to happen. So if even if they did own a lander, I don't know how inclined they would be to accepting whatever building Do you want to go out there on us? I just, I just don't know. Yeah, talk to me about it too. So Hear it's a people are a little bit more interested in development, I would say on a wahoo especially in Honolulu, interesting is all around you already but over on the valley, Big Island, very, very big open spaces like, especially big island. I just don't know like what the whole take would be on on that because the bill was passed for the whole island of Hawaii, right? It's not just for the entire state of Hawaii. So I'm sure I'm sure they're they're looking into that as well the other islands I prefer that over then hotels being built on the other islands because once a wahoo becomes saturated enough, then the other islands will be looked at for development. But there's a lot of pushback with locals, you know, keeping the country country just not making their island what what Honolulu is now? Yeah, some people just can't stand.

Bryan Murphy 33:52

Yeah. What about you guys? I mean, where do you feel if there's like a previous line or whatever and especially growing up on kawaii very much More country than we really are. Yeah, where's that line? Where's that balance?

Unknown Speaker 34:06

I personally feel that it's no matter what it's going to be inevitable with the Titanic industry that people are gonna want to make things better whether they whether that's good or bad like the they're gonna do it if they have the resources to do it. I mean, there are certain certain Okay, so I guess when you say line, I would say like once you get into sacred Hawaiian land or secret one like burial grounds or Hey, Al's anywhere that has a hail which is a sacred, honestly, I'm pretty sure this what a Hay House is, is a fair ground pretty much for Hawaiians of ancient Hawaiians that they used to use this. So it's very, very sacred of a area and if you're encroaching on any of that, then I would say that's the line you can go on that. That's the whole thing right now with Monaco, right with the new telescoping God built over there that I think that cross alone you Yeah, so there's all kinds of protests happening there. And I agree, I don't think that they should be doing that. But then you have the other side. It's like, Okay, well, this isn't just a hotel that we're building there is a whole telescope that's gonna die. So that's, that's another argument that like, you can argue both ways about it. But I mean, if it's like, it was a five star resort, I mean, there'd be one way to say about Yeah, the fact is, it's a it's a test. So you gotta take everything with a grain of salt. And, and just, guys, it's hard. It's it's controversial debate, but that's kind of where I am. But I but overall, I feel I'm not like, I'm not super crazy about whether one of the developments going to happen or not, because I think eventually it will eventually happen. Yeah, over I wish development would stop. For the most part, I think renovation is okay. But adding new things, higher buildings. I mean, that's just, it's not it's not what Hawaii is. I mean, there was a lot of pushback on the rail, that We're now developing to fix this rail that stretches from the west side. So we are going to be building down. But at first, it was a lot of pushback. Yeah, I don't know. I think development should stop at that point. Why do we have to start?

Bryan Murphy 36:20

Right? Well, guys, Hey, I just want to say, this was a great conversation. We went from Margarita to development to Monica to the whole gamut. I think that's just the main thing we want to get across with Hawaii's Best is talking about great experiences like Margarita, but also sharing culture and sharing some of the news and what's important, especially to on Island and what's important to the culture and the people. I appreciate you guys for being kind of vulnerable on that. So if someone wants to check out Margarita is what's the best way to find you guys.

Unknown Speaker 36:51

We've got Instagram. We're on Yelp, Google setting margaritas for the only one so very easy to find. By all Mata if you're shopping around, they're very, like we're also on Facebook. We're also on TripAdvisor. We're thinking about even going into Layla magazine which is a Japanese magazine and also for the trolleys for tour groups that come in from Japan. Other than that, yeah Instagram is we're pretty active on Instagram now especially after meeting you

Bryan Murphy 37:25

guys your story game is personal

Unknown Speaker 37:36

but yeah, margaritas Hawaii that's our Instagram handle. Okay, so check us out.

Unknown Speaker 37:41

And we also have a web page margaritas boy calm. Yeah, Instagram is pretty good. Like people just dm us for any requests. Okay, ours is making t shirts now as you can see. So a lot of you asked if we're selling t shirts and what sizes we have and they just dm us and we usually respond or if they want to post something that We have posts on Instagram and they want to repost it to their DMS. So that's that's honestly like probably the best way to contact us about anything. I think through Instagram there.

Bryan Murphy 38:10

We got to get you your shirt next time. All right. All right, guys. Thanks again so much for your time and look forward to good things come out of Margarita is what you guys are doing and the whole family so appreciate you guys.

Unknown Speaker 38:22

Thanks so much for Thank you Brian.

Bryan Murphy 38:24

Thanks for having us. Thank you Douglas and Lawrence again for your time I had so much fun having this conversation. This interview was such a great example of why I love doing these interviews. You never know where the conversation is gonna go. Like we talked about Mexican dishes we talked about Monica we talked about Waikiki we talked about affordable housing. And I'm glad the conversation went all over the place because that Hawaii's Best is more than just about sharing about great experiences, great restaurants, great places to stay like you can find that anywhere. He wanted us to be able to dive deep into the culture and the people who call Hawaii home. And I think this conversation really kind of encapsulated that beautifully. And I just because of Douglas and Lawrence, my biggest takeaway in the conversation was their love for people. And to serve, I think if we're going to run a successful restaurant that has to be at the heart of what you serve, is adding value to people putting people before you. And it's obvious that Douglas and Lawrence do that and their family that also shows in their initiatives, helping solve the affordable housing crisis on a wahoo that hard to serve that hard to put people first. You see that come across in everything that they do. So next time you're on a wahoo and hopefully that is sooner rather than later. You're going to want to make sure to check out Margaret is when you go there. Tell them Brian set Yeah. And continue to stay positive. Stay safe. We're gonna get to travel again soon. Hang in there. And until next time, you will. Aloha.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Bryan Murphy
Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.