By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

Before shoppers head into Foodland in the Market City Shopping Center on Kapiʻolani Blvd., they will notice that just above the Thai Issan Cuisine restaurant rests a small white sign that displays Win-Spuntino Italian Café. Just up a narrow staircase that leads to the cozy restaurant, customers will be enthralled with homemade Italian meals cooked by Chinese owners and brothers, Ken and Tony Lau.

Having opened since July 1, 2014, Win-Spuntino has made three years as a family business. With experience from working in Italian restaurants beforehand, Ken and Tony decided to open their own Italian restaurant that would encompass recipes of their own and what they have learned from others.

Win-Spuntino provides menus that are written along with pictures of the entrée’s on the flip side to help customers in deciding what suits their appetite. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

The name of the Italian café was determined after inquiring help from a few Italian friends, who developed 10 possible names that the brothers could choose from. Of the 10 names, the name Los-Spuntino stood out to Ken Lau, however, his younger brother Tony felt that the sound of the word “lose” in the name wasn’t decorous. From that, Tony suggested changing the name to Win-Spuntino instead, which means “simple meal” or “cool meal” in Italian — a name that held the two components that the two brothers were anticipating in their restaurant name.

Since then, the restaurant expanded from sharing with a mobile store to its own personal space, allowing it to serve more customers for lunch and dinner. The menu, which was comprised of recipes and ideas developed by the two owners, offers customers a variety of Italian meals to choose from, sectioned by categories such as House Specials, Special Combinations, Sandwiches, and more.

Meals such as the homemade lasagna, jambalaya, and chicken parmigiana are popular within the restaurant. Its cheesecakes, which are made by a friend of the owners, are also another popular factor that customers look forward to at the end of their meal. Although the flavors change on a daily basis, the most popular such as its lilikoi and Oreo cheesecakes are still made available daily.

If customers are unable to eat in, Win-Spuntino offers the options of calling for a take out and ordering through Bite Squad, a food and restaurant delivery service.  The restaurant also caters its salads and entrées, in which customers can choose from the listed catering items, or from any of the meals on the menu that is not listed on the catering menu.

For those who do choose to dine in, customers can look forward to the restaurant’s BYOB concept, which does not have a corkage fee. With the convenience of the restaurant’s location, customers can easily buy wine from Foodland or Fujioka’s Wine to bring with them to drink alongside their meal. Wine bottles are opened by the servers, and glasses are provided by the restaurant.

Gift certificates are made available for customers who would like to purchase them as a gift to present to family or friends. Customers can buy certificates in set amounts of $10, $25, $50, and $100.

The restaurant plans to expand one day, however, it is content with its present location. Currently, it is looking to hire more workers for its dinner service due to a staff shortage. For anyone interested in working the dinner service can contact Ken Lau at (808) 732-1888.

Win-Spuntino is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from Mondays through Saturdays, and from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations can be made by calling (808) 732-1888.