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Exciting and Changing Culinary Scene in Kailua Kona

Posted by Brian Collins on Monday, October 28th, 2019 at 7:10am.

The culinary scene in West Hawaii is always in a state of flux as newcomers to the island seek to open new eateries, while other establishments sometime succumb to market forces or fickle tastes of tourists. LUVA Real Estate knows that the restaurants help make up the lifestyle that we all enjoy in West Hawaii.

Kai Eats and Drinks

Recently, there has been change afoot in the Kailua Village area. 20 year old Bubba Gump’s closed its doors earlier this year and the owner of Huggo’s decided to make a go of it in that location with a new restaurant named Kai Eats and Drinks, which will open in the next few months. The rumor is that the menu will feature family favorites of hamburgers and pizza to offer something a bit different than the Huggos or On the Rock’s menu down the road, both of which are owned by the same owners who also opened Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa Resort five years ago. During Ironman, in mid-October, the owners of Kai renovated the old Bubba Gump’s retail store to make it a coffee stand serving fresh Kona coffee. You can grab a cup of coffee on the way to St. Michael’s Catholic church services across the street or before a stroll through the Farmer’s Market on the corner of Alii Drive and Hualalai Road.

Papa Kona

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. Director of Restaurant Operations, Lian Nazara said the new cafe will host events and catering as well as continuing to operate the roastery, restaurant and cafe, according to the West Hawaii Today. The same great views that Daylight Mind had offered previously, and still the distinct smell of roasting coffee. (LUVA Realtor, Lance Owens interviewed the new owner, here.

Journey to Good Health and Just the Two of Us Southern Cuisine 

New to the gluten free and expressly organic scene is Journey to Good Health tucked into the Kona Marketplace across the street from the Kona Inn. (Photo to upper right is their new cafe) They are focusing on a healthy, local grown menu with gluten free and organic offerings. A rather new restaurant is “Just the Two of Us Southern Cuisine” a Southern fried kitchen offering Southern comfort food such as fried chicken and waffle, as well as excellent BBQ. 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, 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.

Another new option for “dining with a view” is the newly renovated volleyball court on Alii Drive between Foster’s Kitchen and Humpy’s. Revealed a few days before the crowds and athletes arrived for the IronMan International Triathlon, a new bocce ball court was created along with cement pads for tables and chairs overlooking the courts and the ocean. The volleyball court now also has built in benches to the slopes around the court, which offer a casual space to watch a game, let children play in the sand on the courts or listen to music from the monthly summer concert series.

Kona Brewery

Coming up in the near future, will be the new tasting room at the Kona Brewery, in March/April of 2020 at their newly constructed canning and tasting facility on Kuakini Highway and Kaiwi Street. 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.

LUVA Real Estate agents are West Hawaii lifestyle experts. We can discuss with you your lifestyle goals and help you choose a home and neighborhood that fits your life you wish to lead in Hawaii.

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