FoodTalk: Shoney’s from New Orleans to Kota Kinabalu
Situated in a charming, quiet niche corner at Jalan Gaya lies Kota Kinabalu’s best kept culinary secret, “Shoney’s Dining & Bar” or known simply as “Shoney’s” termed endearingly by their local regulars. Shoney’s offers a delectable and distinctive branch of cuisine in the backdrop of the city: Casual South American Food, offering an extensive menu ranging from Buffalo Wings, Jambalaya, Shrimp Po Boy, Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna Stake to sultry desserts such as American Cheesecake and Messy Sundae and for families interested in trying Shoney’s, great news! There’s even a menu especially catered for your little ones!
On the rather unique choice of food origin, it stems from the owner and current chef, Shone Majimbun, who’s chef training took place in New Orleans, Louisiana in America. “In terms of taste, we try to keep the authenticity of the food as much as we can. Some ingredients are not easy to get in KK.” Says Kathie Majimbun, co-owner of “Shoney’s”. “Our aim is to offer American food and dining experience to the locals.” Embracing the casual comfort food background, “Shoney’s” is decked in a snug and cosy rustic ambiance, incorporating a theme influenced by local roots, upcycled old wood for creating tables, chairs and roofs as part of the wall interior in an effort to preserve and care for the environment.
While Shoney’s has only been operating for a few years, it has since quickly found notoriety in their way into the hearts, and stomachs of the locals. “We’re quite popular among the locals for western food, and it’s probably due to our serving size which is American size for a reasonably charged price,” says Kathie. “The most popular dish we have would probably be Shoney’s Platter… You get almost everything on a plate! It serves a generous portion of grilled Jumbo Shrimp, Breaded Calamari, Lamb, Ribs, Sausages, Vegetable skewers, Shoney’s Fried Chicken to Corn on Cob and Cajun Fried Potato. It’s a complete meal.” Adds Kathie.
As for others, the crowd-pleasers and glowing reviews are many!
“Have always been a loyal customer since the first outlet years back. The food is delicious beyond expectation compared to other Western food outlets, and totally worth the money because of the American portion. Hickory Burger and Caesar Salad are my all time favourites.” says Gedion.
“One thing I don’t see in many places: the food was served together and my wife and I actually ate at the same time. Only few places in KK follow this. Good job, you guys!” says Magdy.
However, the experience of dining at Shoney’s is best summarized with this enthusiastic review by Max, “I think this is one of the best family restaurants around. The atmosphere is comfortable, the food is delicious, the staff are especially friendly and helpful and the pricing is reasonably priced for in-house dining. A good dining experience where you will be coming back over and over again,” and that’s the sumptuous promise of Shoney’s it’s so good, it leaves you coming back for more.
For those of you who simply can’t get enough and would like to share the appetizing pleasure of Shoney’s en masse, they’re open for catering services as well! “We do weddings, birthday parties and gatherings, and are not restricted to corporate lunches, events and government functions too,” Kathie remarks “We’re only available for bookings on weekends during lunch time, buffet menus are available and simple decorations are provided with only 50 pax maximum for each event.”
Aside from offering cost saving catering for birthday parties and special events, Shoney’s also delivers complimentary food tasting for packages above 300 pax, including free of charge meals for the head table of the bride and groom, and cake table for the full setting. So, what goes into creating the perfect event at Shoney’s?
Kathie gets detailed, “Firstly, it’s flexibility. Menu and pricing can be tailor made according to the customer’s request. Secondly, I think our price is quite competitive. It’s sort of like giving a five star service for a three star price.” Of course, this goes to show that Kathie’s got the equation right.
Amidst an amazing onset of amicable reviews, Shoney’s has circulated the Kota Kinabalu food scene while gaining recognition from Sabah Food Awards, KK’s Elite Choice Awards and The Signature Food Fest. “Hardwork pays off,” says Kathie “We don’t do easy. For example, a lot of work goes into the sauces and dressings which are produced from scratch. We also choose to emphasize on small things, like greetings and welcoming customers at all times.” While receiving such accolades is always a rewarding sentiment, Kathie affirms that consistency is a constant key to upkeep Shoney’s excellent quality.
“Standard of procedure for both kitchen and floor crew are mandatory for every crew to follow. Take sauces and customer service for example, and getting feedback about food from customers all the time.” And lastly, Kathie mentions that teamwork plays a big part in Shoney’s remarkable service. “70% of Shoneys kitchen crew have been with us since the opening of the restaurant. Very little turnover on the staffing.” She remarks. Well, Shoney’s has left an indelible imprint in the Kota Kinabalu food scene.
It’s fitting to say that it’s impossible to not give “Shoneys” a try! Get ready to dine and wine in true American fashion at Shoney’s!
You can find Shoneys Dinning and Bar at Lot 52, Ground Floor, Jalan Gaya, No.1, Lorong Ewan (same row as Tong Hing). Do follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shoneysdiningandbar. Please call 016-886 8786 or 088-297228 for inquires, reservation or about their catering service. Bon Appetite!
Interview & Written By
Eve Bandusena, Editorial Assistant.