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Kailua: a town for great grinds!
by Jayme Haitsuka, Lifestyles editor

Just minutes away from the Hawai‘i Loa campus, Kailua is a town known for its white sand beaches, and extreme ocean sports. However, what many don’t know is that this town also has much to offer when it comes to great food. From hole-in-the-wall plate lunch eateries to upscale dining, Kailua has enough variety to satisfy both the fattest of wallets and the most discriminating of palettes. The following is a guide to a few of Kailua’s popular restaurants; so, next time after a long day at school or a fun day at the beach you’ll know just where to go to quiet the rumbles in your stomach.


Boots & Kimo’s Located behind Pali Lanes, Boots & Kimo’s has been serving up breakfast and lunch to locals and tourists alike since 1994. Named after the two brothers who own the restaurant, this small eatery, decorated with sports memorabilia, is always busy and often boasts a wait of 20 minutes or more. “Our specialty is definitely breakfast,” said Mary Ann Kiakona, mother of Boots and Kimo. “The Mac Nut pancakes are the best!” Portions here are generous, and plates moderately priced from $5.25 to $8.95. Boots & Kimo’s is open Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Buzz’s Original Steak House Although there is another Buzz’s in Aiea, Kailua’s is the original one! On N. Kalaheo Road just across from Kailua Beach Park, Buzz’s serves up cool cocktails and sizzling steaks that could satisfy the hungriest beach bum! In fact, they even served one of America’s most famous, and perhaps infamous: former President Bill Clinton and his family ate at Buzz’s in 1994. “The Hibachi Salmon is awesome,” said employee and recent HPU graduate Brian Matterson. “Also the sashimi is a great appetizer. For lunch, everything is good. There’s always a different sandwich special, and we have six different hamburgers all made to order.” Buzz’s is open for lunch, $6.95 to $11.95 and dinner, $17.95 to $31.95. However, remember to bring lots of cash or your checkbook because Buzz’s has a strict no-credit-card policy.

Doug’s Gee…A Deli Hidden behind the Kailua McDonald’s on Kuulei Road is a small New York style deli who’s sandwiches and salads pack a flavorful punch. Gee…A Deli, owned by Doug Izak, has been open for more than 20 years, and it is over those years that Izak has perfected his one-of-a-kind menu. It consists of original specialty sandwiches named for close friends and long-time customers who ordered them, as in Evan Aaron Deluxe, Jack’s Texaco Special, and the Jamming James to name a few. With more than 50 sandwiches on the menu, plus a build-your-own sandwich option, salads, bagels, and various side dishes, it might be difficult to choose the perfect meal. However, Izak recommends the Hot Reuben—it’s his favorite! Sandwiches range from $4.50 to $5.95, but count on spending around $9 to include a drink, chips, and maybe (if you have room) a slice of New York Style cheesecake. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Island Snow Unlike the Ala Moana and Waikiki Trade Center stores, the Kailua Island Snow whips up cool shave ice in addition to the standard surf wear. Situated in the Kailua Beach Center, about five minutes away from Kailua Beach, a trip to Island Snow after a hot day in the surf is the perfect way to close off the day. In fact, many visitors and residents stop off at the shop before heading home after the beach on the weekends. “Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest,” said Peter Cabgnol, one of the managers. “Sometimes the line goes out the door!” For $2 including tax, patrons can get a cone of soft shave ice and choose up to three flavors and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. Island Snow also offers other toppings for a small extra charge: gumballs, azuki beans, and a snow cap (sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top of the shaved ice) just to name a few. Store hours are Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jaron’s Offering a sophisticated atmosphere for lunch and dinner, Jaron’s on Hamakua Drive is one of a few pricey restaurants in Kailua. Specializing in seafood, steaks, and pasta Jaron’s low-lit atmosphere, with soothing jazz music in the background, is a perfect place to take that special someone. According to the chefs, the Capalini crusted fish is considered the house specialty; however, the recently added Alaskan King Crab seems to be almost as well-liked. After hours, Jaron’s turns into a hot spot for Hawaiian and reggae music. Every Friday and Saturday night the 21-and-over crowd can skank the night away to popular local bands like Natural Vibrations and Ooklah the Moc. For the 18-20 year old crowd, the band Stone rocks out every Monday. For lunch, appetizers range from $3.50 to $9.95, and entrées from $6.95 to $11.95. For dinner, appetizers range from $5.95 to $10.95, and entrées from $9.95 to $18.95. Open daily for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. dinner hours 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kalapuwai Market Featured in a Snapple commercial, this quaint country market, located just before Kailua Beach Park, has been serving up sandwiches and selling sundries since 1932. As one of the definitive historic landmarks in Kailua town, this green building attracts its fair share of tourists. Inside the market, customers can browse aisles stocked with anything from twinkies to Tylenol to inflatable plastic mattresses. On the weekends, Kalapuwai dishes up hamburgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill in addition to standard deli faire. Kalapuwai’s deli, though not as expansive as Gee…A Deli, still offers great tasting sandwiches at reasonable prices, $3.79 up to $5.95. Soups, salads, and pastas are also available at the deli with selection varying daily. Kalapuwai is open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

K and K Barbeque Inn If in the mood for more local style plate lunches, and on a budget, K and K’s is the place to eat. “The meat jun is bomb!” said Neil Sullivan, a justice administration major at HPU. According to co-owner Wing Lee, other favorites are the garlic chicken, chicken katsu, and fried rice. Priced reasonably, and conveniently located in the same shopping center as Island Snow, K and K’s makes a great stop for picking up plate lunches before hitting the beach, or after to cure the cravings from a day of body boarding in the surf. Plates start at $4.95 for a mini portion and go up to $6.95 for regular plates. Catering options are also available. Restaurant hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Zia’s Caffe Adjacent to Jaron’s on Hamakua Drive, Zia’s is a great place for pasta at affordable prices. The menu showcases all the typical Italian faire from creamy Alfredo to chicken parmesan, and everything is under $15! Zia’s also features specialty salads such as Mandarin orange chicken salad, pear and blue cheese, and Italian chop-chop for those not looking to load up on carbohydrates. After dinner, be sure to try the award-winning bread pudding, in a different flavor everyday! In addition to dining in, Zia’s also accommodates take-out and catering orders. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.



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