Chelsea Madren aka OC Food Diva: Johnsonville's The Sausage Dome Champion, World Food Championships E.A.T. Certified Food Judge, KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, Brand Ambassador, Culinary Researcher, Food & Travel Critic, Food Competitor, and Recipe Developer
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Nori’s in Hilo, HI has a hometown feel with worldly flavors
Beth Ann Nishijima had a dream to open a restaurant. In 1983, her dream became a reality with Nori’s. Her beloved family dog, Nori, became the namesake for this iconic restaurant. It started as a simple noodle shop. Hilo is considered rain forest area so it rains a lot. Noodles and hot soup are perfect on rainy days (and their busiest days for the restaurant). Now, Nori’s is much more than that.
If you’re not from Hilo, this hidden gem can be a bit hard to find. Nestled in a small strip mall that is away from one of the main drags into downtown Hilo, Nori’s neon sign glows and buzzes beckoning you to come closer. Once through the door, the narrow hallway to the dining room is adorned with photos of Beth Ann with famous celebrity chefs. The picture that caught my eye was Beth Ann with Iron Chef French, Hiroyuki Sakai. As you make your way to the dining room, it looks like your typical local restaurant, booths and simple décor. Don’t let that fool you, the dishes are not at all simple. Some are downright complex. Just like an Iron Chef, Beth Ann infuses local favorites with culinary flavors of the world.