Mon-Fri: 10:30-8pm, Sat: 11-4pm. • 801-774-7247 • 2672 N. Hillfield Rd. #4, Layton UT
Wall of Fame
Wall of Fame
Big Sai's T-Shirts
Beehive Report - 29 March 2013
By: Kim Egginton - Editor
Big Sai's Hawaiian Barbecue at 2672 N. Hillfield Rd. in Layton is an unassuming little restaurant with a big surprise: it can transport you to Oahu, Hawaii with one bite of the teriyaki chicken.
The chicken is served almost immediately, piping hot with white rice and macaroni salad--and all of it tastes like you stepped into one of the unassuming little roadside restaurants along the Kamehameha Highway on the east coast of Oahu. You can almost smell the Pacific Ocean beside you.
The teriyaki sauce is mild and delicious; the flavor of the big slabs of chicken are not overwhelmed by the sauce. It's much more Hawaiian than Japanese in taste and presentation. The macaroni salad is island-style, mild and slightly peppery--not at all what you'd eat at an American picnic.
Owners Vern and Lou Thompson are friendly and clearly care about the food and the customers. Big Sai's is a popular place for folks from Hill Air Force Base and the kids from nearby Northridge High School.
The prices are almost as good as the food. It's definitely the cheapest, easiest, quick trip to Hawaii around.
GO! (Getting Out) - 4 Feb 2012
by Amy Nicholson
Prior to moving to Layton in 2009, husband and wife Vernon and Loui Thompson owned a data communications company on the island of Oahu. After their big move, Loui Thompson said they were disappointed that there weren't more options for Hawaiian dining near their new home.
Since they both loved to cook and were no strangers to running their own business, the Thompsons opened Big Sai's Hawaiian Bar-B-Q in May 2011. Loui Thompson said business has been great, thanks to their loyal customers from the nearby high school, Hill Air Force Base and families in the community.
Many customers like to order the mixed plate ($7.25-$9.70), which includes sticky rice, homestyle macaroni salad and a mix of their grilled teriyaki meats -- including chicken, beef and the short ribs.
The Loco Moco ($5.25-$7.70) is also a hit, with sticky rice, two beef patties and two fried eggs smothered in a homemade gravy.
All of the sauces are made from scratch, and the meats are marinated overnight.
On Fridays, they run Aloha Specials such as the Hawaiian Beef Stew ($7.95), a traditional beef stew with secret Hawaiian spices; Papa's Coconut Salmon ($11.95), a steak of salmon cooked in coconut milk and onions; and Kahuku Fried Shrimp ($11.95), cooked in garlic and butter like the seafood served at the shrimp trucks on the north shore of Oahu.
Loui Thompson refers to her establishment as a "hole in the wall with great food that kids and families love."
"In my culture, our priorities are our faith in God, our families and food. We love to cook and we love to share it with people," she said. Both Loui and Vernon Thompson are part-Samoan.
Desserts include Guava, Lilikoi, or passion fruit, and coconut pineapple cake ($3/slice; $27/cake).
In addition to a small dining room and take-out, the Thompsons also offer catering.
Dining Guide - 24 Oct 2011
For hefty portions of delicious Hawaiian food at even more delicious prices, come to Big Sai’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Q. Decorated with a painting of the islands and autographed jerseys and photos from all-star Hawaiian football players, Big Sai’s is small and fills up with hungry customers quickly, but you can always get your barbecue to go. Meals come in either “mini” or “regular” size, but even the mini-size entrees are a great value. Try the delectable teriyaki beef or chicken, chicken katsu or Kalua pork, or if you made sure to bring your appetite, order the mixed plate, which includes a grilled short rib, grilled chicken-thigh pieces and about a quarter-pound of beef, all topped with a sticky, sweet garlic-spiked teriyaki sauce and served with a small mountain of white rice and incredible macaroni salad. For dessert, be sure to try the guava cake.
City Weekly "Two for 'Cue" - 8 Sept 2011
By Ted Scheffler
(After review of first restaurant) ... By contrast, I loved almost everything at Layton’s Big Sai’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Q except the size. The new eatery is a hole-in-the-wall with a walk-up-and-order counter, five tables and a couple of window seats—seating for 22 people, total. It’s always crowded at lunchtime and for early dinners when the folks at nearby Hill AFB get off work. But, you can always get your Hawaiian-style barbecue to take home.
One wall of Big Sai’s is an homage to Hawaiian football players, with signed and autographed jerseys and photos from the likes of Troy Polamalu, Lofa Tatupu, Junior Ioane and many more. On the opposite wall is a simple painting of the Hawaiian Islands, with only the town of Laie on Oahu highlighted—where the family that operates Big Sai’s comes from. As for Big Sai? Well, he ain’t so big. He’s actually the 9-year-old son of the owners.
Big Sai’s is a small place with big flavors, not to mention big portions for little prices. Menu items include teriyaki beef and chicken, Kalua pork, fried spam & eggs, Laie chicken wings and Japanese-style chicken katsu. Most of the menu items come in a “mini” size ($4.50-$6.50) or “regular” ($5.95-$8.95) and include a side of rice and macaroni salad.
There is nothing mini about the mini portions. The mixed mini plate ($6.50) consists of one grilled short rib; four or five boneless, grilled chicken thigh pieces; and about a quarter-pound of beef, along with a mound of white rice and a hefty portion of macaroni salad, all topped with a slightly sweet teriyaki sauce, mildly spiked with garlic. Both the chicken and beef were very tender, the beef especially. And, I’ve gotta tell you, the macaroni salad here is bodacious. I took an order home and was so impressed that I called back to find out how the macaroni salad was made. Turns out it’s nothing more than al dente macaroni, a little mayonnaise, shredded carrot and black pepper. That’s it. I could have sworn there was some sort of mild cheese in it. It tasted like mild mac & cheese, not mac & mayo.
Another great choice is Loco Moco ($4.50), which is two grilled beef patties topped with two fried eggs, smothered in brown gravy. I could feel my arteries hardening as I ate it and loved every bite, but I still couldn’t resist ordering the guava cake. As Sai’s T-shirts say, this food “broke da mouf.”?
Standard-Examiner - 2 Aug 2011
By Jasen Asay
LAYTON -- The first time he experienced winter in Utah, Vern Thompson was glued to the window of his house. Not to watch the snow falling, but to see what his neighbors did.
"I didn't know what to do," he said. "They were shoveling their driveway and the sidewalks, so I figured I should too."
Having recently moved to Layton from Hawaii, Thompson and his family had more to adjust to than just the snow. One immediate problem was finding some familiar food. With the closest Hawaiian BBQ restaurants in Bountiful and Salt Lake City, the Thompsons spent at least two nights a week leaving Layton.
"When you grow up with something, you have to have it," Thompson said.
Now, they just go to their own restaurant.
Vern and his wife, Loui Toomalatai-Thompson, opened Big Sai's Hawaiian BBQ, at 2672 North Hill Field Road, about two months ago. The restaurant, sitting between Northridge High School and Hill Air Force Base, has already produced enough regulars that Loui said they could shout people's names out when they walk through the door.
"This is the kind of place we wanted," Loui said. "It's an extension from my house. In our culture, it's all about sharing what you have."
The Thompsons moved to Layton two winters ago after Loui was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor is about the size of a BB and not life-threatening, although it causes symptoms that Loui has to deal with every day. Loui, who counts the time by the number of winters her family has survived, said she is now living off medication and wanted to be closer to family for moral support.
"Now my kids have 31 cousins to play with," Loui said.
The Thompsons have three daughters -- Talia, 12, Alosina, 11, and Ema, 7 -- and one son. Nine-year-old Isaia, now measuring in at an even 5 feet and weighing 125 pounds, was the inspiration behind the name of the restaurant. Born two weeks early, Isaia weighed 11 pounds, 4.5 ounces and measured 23 inches.
The big baby was such a novelty in Laie that local high school football coaches brought gifts to the Thompsons and encouraged the parents to send the future football player to their high school when it is time for him to play.
The Thompsons want to not only be a part of the community here, but bring some of the Hawaiian culture to Utah.
The first step, deciding the menu for Big Sai's, was easy.
"These are the things my kids like to eat," Loui said. "We plan on expanding the menu, we just didn't know how much to do at first."
When designing Big Sai's T-shirts, the Thompsons made sure to have "Broke da mouf" on the back. That is a saying in Hawaii that the locals use for food so good that it breaks your mouth apart.
"We want to share the aloha spirit and culture with the people here," Vern said. "We want to be a part of this wonderful community."
City Weekly Best of UT