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Outdoor dining and a choice of cuisine at the Gourmet Town

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-06-20

The newly opened Gourmet Town, located in Chatan, provides the perfect place to satisfy the tastes of everyone. The area is set up like an American style food court, with several different eateries all located in the same area. Situated outdoors, the Gourmet Town offers a great "island style " atmosphere, and also has plenty of seats for large crowds.

You will immediately discover the bar "Crowd" sitting in the middle of everything as you enter the Gourmet Town. Owner Kazuhiro Maruyama, describes his bar as "a place to drink and become friends with everyone." Bottled Heineken, Miller, and Budweiser at only 350 make "Crowd" an excellent place to stop for a few drinks and enjoy the summer time atmosphere of Chatan. Kirin draft beer is available for 500, and a variety of exotic cocktails are also listed on the menu for 500. The "Nanja Goya", made with the bitter Okinawan vegetable "goya", is an original concoction made with awamori. The "No 1 Crowd" is another original that is very popular. Other cocktails include Tequila Sunrises, Fuzzy Navels, and Margaritas. Wine coolers are available for 500. Non-alcohol drinkers can also rejoice at not having to pay ridiculous prices for a soft drink 150, and 100% fruit juices can be ordered for 300. Maruyama is planning on having "Happy Hour" service during July and August, and he also invites customers to come during daytime hours.

"Crowd" provides the beer and cocktails, while the surrounding mini-restaurants can cook you up anything from a Mexican burrito to some Okinawan soba. One place that is definitely a "must try" is Akiko Kise's "Gu Choki Pai" Bakery. Her homemade pies and cookies will cure anyone homesick for some good old fashion desserts. For only 120 you can sample a nice size piece of her homemade apple pie, bursting with delicious apple and cinnamon flavor. Kise takes much pride in the crust, which is also made from scratch and has an authentic "American apple pie" quality to it. Her Cream Puff Cake for 100 is incredibly delicious, and the Short Cake 230, made with fresh cream, is excellent. Cookies are for 120, and all you can drink coffee is only 200. Kise's little Bakery also puts out some pretty good pizzas for 600. You can order a Pizza set 800 from the bar, which will get you a pizza and a beer. She also makes birthday cakes, and you can purchase a whole apple pie for 900. Kise studied baking in the mainland, and has 12 years experience working in various bakeries. "When I was a student I loved cake and pie, but I always thought it was so expensive. I wanted to give customers a chance to enjoy something good at an affordable price," explained Kise. Everything can be ordered for take out, and you will definitely be satisfied with Kise's delicious home-style baking.

If you are looking for something ethnic, then you can order one of the several Indian curries offered at "Shokudo Indo". Owner Kenji Kinjo, who also operates another "Shokudo Indo" in Naha, serves up his curries with plenty of fresh herbs and spices. All the curries come with salad and batulla (Indian bread). Some of the curries you should sample are the Chicken Curry 850, Mutton Curry 850, Seafood Curry 1,000, or the Chicken in Coconut Milk Curry 900. You can also request for extra spicy upon ordering.

If "south of the border" is what you are looking for, then you will want to check out "Tacos De Rico". Their awesome tacos are served in soft tortillas, and are filled with flavorful ground beef, cheese, and lettuce. Homemade taco sauce on the side lets you spice up your taco to your own taste. You can order them single 250, or as a set 600, which comes with 2 tacos and a drink. Taco rice, Beef Burritos, and Chili soup round out the menu, but owner Takenobu Chibana, who can speak Japanese English and Spanish, plans on expanding the menu. Manager Mikel Menard expressed "We are different from most of the other places on Okinawa that serve Mexican food. We offer a more authentic Mexican taste." Customers can also look forward to some Cajun food being added to the menu in the near future.

"Gin no Komugi" cooks up some nice pasta dishes and specializes in some original toast! "Peperonchino" pasta goes for just 680, and can be also ordered with toast for 850. So what is so special about a piece of toast? For starters, "Gin no Komugi's" toast is probably the thickest piece of toast you have ever seen. Toasted golden brown on the outside, the inside remains very soft. Four different types of toast give you a taste of garlic, cheese, honey and butter, or honey butter with ice cream. All are for 380.

The Gourmet Town also lets you indulge in Chinese food at "Shay Shay". "Dim sung" style steamed dishes, that include salmon, squid, and crab "shumai" for 380 or spring rolls for 380 provide the perfect snack. Gyoza lovers can satisfy their hunger for 380, and a mini ramen is also available for 380. Regular Ramen costs 580, and there is plenty of other dishes to choose from.

"Miyoshi 'soba" provides some excellent Okinawan cuisine with Okinawan soba at 450 for a medium or 500 for a large order. Soki soba is 600, and Tebichi (pigs knuckles) are 650. The soup is home made and much preparation is involved to give patrons a true Okinawan taste.

Sandwiches, soup, and salad are the main dishes at "Soup Town Salad City". Delicious Clam Chowder, Minestrone, or Chicken Noodle soup can be ordered for 350. Salads include a Caesar salad, German potato salad, Fruit salad, or Japanese style salad, which all go for 350. The Deluxe Sandwich 500 is packed with roast beef, ham, turkey, lettuce and tomato, and a Grilled Cheese will cost you 300. You can get some great domburi at "Shipu", ranging from 650 to 750, and some Philippine cuisine soon to come,complete the Gourmet Town.

Be sure to give this place a try. It is located on the back road of Hamby, just across from the Hamby 7 Plex Movie Theater. Look for the neon sign. The Gourmet Town is open everyday, with some shops closing on Mondays. Lunch is served at some of the places, and all are open in the evening until 2 am.

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