President Eric von Platen Luder
In 1982, Eric took over the day-to-day operation of Huggo’s from his parents and restaurant founders, Shirley and Hugo von Platen Luder. He is president of Olu Kai, Ltd., which does business as Huggo’s Restaurant, Huggo’s on the Rocks and Paradise Gourmet Catering.
Eric is a graduate of the local Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 1979 from Southern Methodist University. A fourth-generation Chinese-Hawaiian, Eric has worked in every capacity at Huggo’s. He began as an aspiring 11-year-old bus boy, joining his brother and sister who also pitched in during summer vacations.
Veteran food and beverage pro Mike McElrath joined Huggo’s as General Manager in spring 2015. He brings years of professional hospitality experience to the post both here in Hawaii and on the mainland U.S. In fact, he started his food and beverage career right here on Hawaii Island at the Kona Hilton (now the Royal Kona Resort) right next door to Huggo’s in the heart of Kailua-Kona Village.
A passionate waterman, Mike most recently was responsible for the United States Lifeguarding Association Chapter at the iconic Mauna Kea Hotel where, in addition to directing beach and pool operations, he also managed the hotel’s beach bar restaurant. Mike’s hands-on management style, high energy and aloha spirit make him a perfect fit with the Huggo’s ohana (family)!
Our Leadership Team
Nick hails from Erie, Pennsylvania and has been a lifer in the hospitality industry. He started his career at Jr’s On The Bay in Erie, then bounced around the Great Lakes region with the popular steakhouse concept, Texas Roadhouse.
Nick moved to Hawaii in 2006 and managed the popular Waikiki restaurants Tikis Grill and Bar and The Cheesecake Factory. Nick moved to the Big Island in 2010 and fell in love! He enjoys time with his wife Venus and his kids in his off time and finds the waters of the big island as a necessary balance to a stressful week.
After successfully opening Lava Lava Beach Club, Nick now oversees the operations of not only Lava Lava Beach Club but also Huggo’s, On The Rocks, Paradise Gourmet Catering and Grass Shack Parties.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Chef Ken brings nearly twenty years of experience to Lava Lava Beach Club. Born and raised in wine country, Chef Ken worked in Napa Valley for most of his career. He also took five years and explored the cuisine of the Caribbean, gathering new ideas of parallel tropical latitude culinary inspirations.
Chef Ken works directly with the sous chefs to create our menu items as well as work with our vendors to ensure our family of restaurants get the best possible products from local farmers and fishermen