Things have been changing in the Kailua Village area this year with the opening and then closing of the Volcano Grill, which had a great location, but no concept that stoked the interest of either tourists or residents.
New to the gluten free and expressly organic scene is Journey To Good Health Cafe tucked into the Kona Marketplace across the street from the Kona Inn. They are focusing on a healthy, local grown menu with gluten free and organic offerings. My good friends at Adaptations, a local food co-op who supports local farmers, confirmed that they are ordering their fresh produce from them, so if you want local, these folks are supporting our local farmers.
One of my new favorites is the cafe that has opened in the The Club gym, called Club Nutrition-Grab and Go Kitchen,
This new buffet style restaurant has fantastic and tasty Keto Diet offerings and a full salad bar. All food is priced by the pound. I have been in there twice a week getting “fillers” for my family dinners of sautéed garlic steak, roasted vegetables and the owners wife cooks a mean Indian curry. Both owners are there in the morning preparing the food and are full of Aloha. You can get a meal for $7.
20 year old Bubba Gump’s closed its doors earlier this year and the owners of Huggo’s saw the valuable opportunity of the oceanfront location. They started doing renovation and will open the new restaurant, Kai Eats + Drinks, in early 2020. The menu will feature tacos, hamburgers and pizza to offer something a bit different than the Huggos or On the Rock’s menu down the road. Their tag line is “Where every day is Aloha Friday, Except When It’s Taco Tuesday.” So there ya go.
Another new endeavor is only a few steps away from Kai in the Waterfront Plaza is the newly opened Papa Kona. This new establishment immediately opened upon the surprising news that Daylight Mind Coffee Company closed its doors on October 16th. The new owner made only a few slight renovations to the restaurant and is open from 7 am until 3 pm daily, focusing on brunch. If you know the space, you know it is an amazing venue for a party and the new cafe will host events and catering as well as continuing to operate the roastery, restaurant and cafe. The views are to die for up there, so a mimosa with your friends is a must.
A rather new restaurant is “Just the Two of Us-Southern Cuisine” a Southern fried kitchen offering bbq, fried chicken and waffles, and fried green tomatoes! The owners gave Kailua Kona a taste of this idea with a food truck since 2016. Located in the Alii Marketplace on the corner of Hualalai Road and Kuakini Road in the old Longboard Pizza location, the menu captures a trend found on the mainland for comfort food.
And speaking of food trucks, there is a rumor that the locally famous Jamaican food truck, Cool Runnings Jamaican Grill, is opening a place behind Oceans in the Coconut Grove Marketplace so customers can enjoy Chef Fish’s jerk chicken, delicious corn cakes and saffron rice without the noise and smell of a diesel generator.
If you are a fan of local chef, Alan Hess-Mai Grille, he also has a traveling food truck serving THE BEST bbq beef sandwiches. (He is actually based out of North Hawaii, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least tell you about him!) We did an interview at the Taste of the Range with him after we fell out of chairs with ecstasy after trying his bbqed sandwiches.
We don’t yet know who all the tenants will be in the new Niumalu Marketplace, located on Henry Street and Queen Kaahumanu Highway, but you can bet there will be places to eat and enjoy the ambiance of a vibrant Kailua Kona culinary scene!
If you enjoy all that life has to offer in Kailua Kona and on the Big Island and are considering a move here, please check out my Moving to Hawaii books/guides on my website!