After a three-month soft opening that started in June, Plumeria Steakhouse across DFS in Garapan finally held a grand opening last Thursday that not only officially launched the restaurant on the CNMI’s food scene but also as a way of thanking its new and repeat customers.
The official opening of Plumeria Steakhouse also paves the way for the restaurant to expand its services to customers, said long-time businessman and owner Steve Jang. “The grand opening celebration is also our way of thanking the community for the good response they have given us about our food, service, including the entertainment we offer.”
Starting a restaurant during a pandemic may sound challenging and impossible even, but not for Jang, who see Plumeria Steakhouse as an opportunity to give the CNMI community a different kind of steakhouse—one that entertains customers with delicious food and choreographed dancing by servers. “…Yes, it was a challenge opening a business during this time but I always looks at the positive side of things,” he said. “Opening Plumeria Restaurant has been in the works since three years ago. I didn’t have the finances…but I made it slowly and surely and that is why we are here today. The pandemic is tough for everyone but it didn’t stop me to work on this goal continuously.”
The inspiration behind the name Plumeria Steakhouse, which had its soft opening in June, is the plumeria tree that used to stand outside the restaurant building. “Aside from plumeria being our island flower, the name has a sentimental value to me because there used to be a plumeria tree right at the side of this building where the airplane is now. Due to an auto accident, the tree was knocked down. I want to keep the memory of that tree as it was one of the oldest plumeria trees on this island—very old, big, and beautiful,” Jang said.
Jang explains that he purchased the vintage plane, a 1958 twin engine bonanza located outside the steakhouse, because he wanted to have his own icon. “The plane has a historic value to the CNMI as it was one of the planes that flew around the CNMI after World War II. The former owner of the plane was a Marine soldier and he would fly that plane to Pagan, Tinian, Goat island, to name a few,” he said. “I plan to put up a plaque beside the plane so people will know its history. …It is part of CNMI history and I eventually want to donate it to the CNMI Museum.”
According to Jang, Plumeria Steakhouse’s specialties include its signature ribeye steak, special seasoned pork ribs, different kinds of pasta, fresh-from-the-oven thin-crust pizza, different kinds of salad, and appetizers.
“The good food that we serve is a reflection of the close relationship of our team. When we prepare and cook the dishes that we offer, we pour our hearts into it. We only put top ingredients and that can be very expensive but when people have that first bite, they know its quality,” he said.
Of course, with chef John Imperial heading the kitchen, the dishes are a feast. Imperial worked for 20 years at Coffee Care, an island favorite in the ’90s up to the 2000’s. He has also made his rounds in top hotels on island like the Saipan World Resort in Susupe, Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, and Tony Seafood in Garapan. “Every dish is a product of all the things I learned over the years working in the food & beverage industry. I learned from working with top chefs and cooks over the years and I also value what the customers want or suggest and adjust,” he said.
In charge of customer service and entertainment in the restaurant is Food & Beverage supervisor Kim Rachelle M. Aquilesca. “I see to it our servers and staff are friendly, always ready to go the extra mile to serve our customers and feel relaxed while dining. Special at Plumeria Steakhouse is the choreographed dance our servers perform every 40 minutes,” she said.
“It is special to see our regular customers look forward to it and when we feel that they want to join the dance, we encourage them. We also treat birthday celebrants [with] songs that we put together that are unique and always memorable,” she added.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who was in attendance, last Thursday with first lady Dianne Torres, congratulated Jang on the new business venture. . “For him to open a steakhouse on island gives locals and tourists another venue to visit. …Having a new business investment here will hopefully inspire other investors to come here to the CNMI and look for business opportunities,” he said.
House Speaker Edmund Sablan Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), who represents Precinct 3 where Plumeria Steakhouse is located, and Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) also welcomed Plumeria Steakhouse’s entry into Saipan’s food scene.
Plumeria Steakhouse is open Monday to Sunday for lunch from 11am to 2pm and dinner from 6pm to 10pm.
For more information, call (670) 233-5454 or check out Plumeria Steakhouse on Facebook.