Rob’s: Where The Good Times Roll

Owner Rob Silverman: ‘You’ve gotta stay current

Rob’s Good Times Grill: just a sports bar?

Think again!

Laughter floats through the doors as we walk into the air-conditioned restaurant. Rob’s Good Times Grill in Rice Shopping Center looks exactly like you’d expect a sports bar to look. Twenty flat-screen TVs hang from the ceiling, circling the entire room, providing a great view no matter where you sit.

What you don’t expect is the amount of good times to be had.

Owner Rob Silverman has operated this establishment since 1992 with wife Lolly. Having managed the business that was previously at the same location for several years, they bought it, renamed it and renovated it.

In the ensuing 18 years, Rob’s has striven to stay trendy and ahead of the curve. “It’s not the same thing you saw 10 years ago,” says Silverman. “You’ve gotta stay current.”

One thing that’s different is the menu. You can get the standards – food you’d expect such as burgers and hot sandwiches – but Rob’s also offers sushi, entrees, meal-size salads and a lengthy pupu list.

Seafood Pasta is a new creation by chef Nate Cantor

“You can’t just sit by and be satisfied with what you have,” Silverman adds.

He hired chef Nate Cantor, who in his two years at the sports bar has created new dishes including Rob’s favorites Seared Ahi Salad ($13) and Seafood Pasta.

“Nate is really skilled, creative and has brought a whole new dimension to the food,” Silverman says. He adds that the daily lunch specials ($10-$12) featuring Ahi Caesar Wrap, Grilled Salmon with Wasabi Aioli and Tri-Tip Salad with Passionfruit Vinaigrette also are popular, as well as the quick lunchtime value meals ($6.50) including Fish ‘n’ Chips, Chef Salad, Teri Burger and Chicken Katsu.

Bartender Nilo Badua creates heady and refreshing cocktails. Try the Lychee Martini ($8), mojitos made with fresh basil and strawberry or the La Poire ($7.50) with Grey Goose pear vodka, pomegranate, cranberry, lilikoi and champagne.

Flashing his easy smile, Silverman says he’s always challenging himself.

“You have to evolve constantly,” he says. “If you’re not moving forward, you’re going to get run over.”

Indeed. Rob’s is like a community events center for those seeking fun – every night of the week some-thing’s going on.

There are two daily happy hours – or hana hou, as it’s known at the bar -from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 8 to 10.

Rob’s customers enjoy lunch while catching a game

Mondays feature Monday night football spilling into karaoke, with a song list of 10,000. The sushi chef makes standards such as spicy tuna rolls and house specials including the Volcano: a combination of shrimp, crab, hamachi and avocado wrapped in fresh salmon and “baked to perfection.” And the automated Texas Hold ‘Em tourney starts at 7 p.m.

Triple step your way through Tuesday night with swing dancing till 10 p.m. and karaoke until midnight.

Wednesdays offer a chance to get loose with country line dancing, karaoke and all-day $8 buffalo wings.

Thursdays are all about sophistication, as Rob asks you to dress up and “just chill” with delicious lychee martinis, wine, sushi or pupus and down-tempo music like acid jazz, house and trip-hop.

Relax and enjoy live music island-style on Aloha Friday. Groove to the local vibe of Clyde Letreta or the contemporary sounds of local favorites Breeze and Pono while enjoying draft pints for $2.75.

Saturday night is the “monster party,” as Silverman calls it, where the room is filled to maximum capacity by 9:30 p.m. with 10-year veteran DJ Jason Apilado spinning until 2 a.m.

Doors reopen at 7 a.m. Sunday with breakfast specials such as the popular corned beef hash loco moco with fried rice and signature Bloody Marys, served in a logo glass that you can take home. Adults can watch the games while kids play pool for free all day.As the games wind down, the sushi bar opens and the karaoke mics come out.

Seared Ahi Salad is a favorite at Rob's

Silverman is warm and genuine as he talks about his long-term employees, his extended ohana: “When you have a small business, you grow together. You kind of watch them grow up and get them to where they need to be.”

His face lights up when he talks about his family. He and Lolly celebrated 20 years of marriage this past May – 19-year-old son Sage goes to Kaua’i Community College, and daughter Mahina, 15, attends Kaua’i High School.

“Rob’s is not the type of place you want to come to for a romantic dinner,” Silverman says. “But if you want to come out and have a good time where you can dress down, have fun and wear your slippers and still get a great meal, then Rob’s Good Times Grill is where you want to be.”

Rob’s Good Times Grill 4303 Rice St., Lihue Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-midnight

Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

Sunday, 7 a.m.-midnight 246-0311

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