Wishing Well Shave Ice
5-5080 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei
Open since 1983, Wishing Well Shave Ice, which operates out of a white food truck on Kuhio Highway, has long been a staple in Hanalei. More recently, though, it’s taken a fresh, organic turn under new owners—Kauai natives, Jesse Merle Jones and Aamion Goodwin—who have done away with artificially flavored syrups and powders, while still making really tasty, refreshing shave ice. This is also an easy spot to pick up a breakfast acai bowl and cup of coffee.
4-1384 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa
The exterior of this eclectic Kapaa cafe is painted a bright turquoise blue with a red, French-door entrance. The coffee here is serious business: Java Kai hand-roasts all their brews—you can usually catch a glimpse of the process through the back windows on Monday and Friday morning. In addition to the famed Kona coffee from the Big Island, Java Kai also makes coffee using beans from Maui, Kauai, and Molokai. They serve breakfast and lunch, too, until 3pm but the shop can get really busy, especially in the mornings, so ordering online or over the phone can save time. Or if you’re just getting coffee, try their smaller barista spot, The Kai Bar, which is in the back of the building, next to Kauai Juice Co., and typically open until 11am.
Kauai Juice Co.
4-1384 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa
There are so many good cold-pressed juices and kombucha teas at this Kauai shop, which has locations in Kappa and Kilauea. Most of their drinks are made from local, organic produce, and they are all served in glass bottles, which you can return to Kauai Juice Co. to be recycled, and for a refund. Bonus: A portion of proceeds goes to Hawai‘i SEED, a nonprofit that supports local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and GMO education and labeling legislation.
Banana Joe’s Fruit Stand (Closed)
5-2719 Kuhio Hwy., Kilauea
On the road to Kauai’s North Shore, before Princeville and Hanalei, and just past the town of Kilauea, look for the yellow hut on the side of the mauka (mountain) side of Kuhio Highway (between mile marker 23 and 24 if you’re headed north). This old-fashioned fruit stand has been in business since 1986, specializing in exotic fruits like atemoya, rambutan, and starfruit, and classic tropical fruits like banana (several varieties), Kauai’s strawberry papaya, and mango. Get one of their entirely fruit frosties (pineapple, banana, or pineapple-banana mix—can’t go wrong on flavor) that they press through a Champion Juicer. Easily rivals most soft-serve. Photos: Peter Burka, e.t.
Aloha Juice Bar
Ching Young Village Shopping Center, Hanalei
No question, this shack-stand at Ching Young Village Shopping Center in Hanalei serves the best acai bowls on the island. Also in Aloha’s line-up: juices, smoothies, teas, small treats, nuts, and bars. And attached to the juice bar is a produce stand with fresh fruit to-go. Photo: Brave Heart
Island Naturals Market & Deli
15-1870 Akeakamai Loop, Pahoa
This local grocery has the most comprehensive selection of healthy eats on the island. It also conveniently has multiple locations: in Hilo and Pahoa on the east side of the island, and Kailua-Kona on the west, plus a kiosk at the University of Hawaii. The stores are a nice option if your hotel suite/Airbnb is equipped with a kitchen, and you’re looking to eat/entertain there for a meal or two. Each Island Naturals Market & Deli store sells an array of organic groceries (including many gluten-free and vegan-friendly products) from shelved goods like pastas and sauces, to fruits and veggies from nearby farms, line-caught fish, and grass-fed beef. You can also stock up on breakfast items and organic wine and beer. If you’re not interested in doing any cooking, the deli has easy already-made meals, or you can order custom sandwiches, smoothies, juices, and of course, Kona coffee.
Hilo Farmers Market
Mamo St. & Kamehameha Ave., Hilo
There is no shortage of markets on the Big Island, but if you only have time for one, make it this farmers market in historic downtown Hilo, at the corner of Corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. The Hilo Farmers Market began in 1988 with four farmers who sold their harvest out of parked trucks. Today, it’s open daily year-round (but the main market days are Wednesday and Saturday), and more than 200 farmers and crafters come to sell a variety of produce, tropical flowers (orchids and anthuriums are the main draw), and giftable items like handmade jewelry and artisanal wooden bowls. Be sure to sample the in-season fruit, be it coconuts, strawberry guavas, white pineapples, or thimble berries. Other specialties include island jams, jellies, hot sauces, honey, macadamia nut butter, and (of course) Kona coffee. There are also a number of vendors serving breakfast and lunch, from breads and pastries to Thai and sushi.
Green Flash Coffee & Cafe
75-6000 Ali'i Dr., Kailua-Kona
We love the fresh smoothies at this family-owned café near Kailua-Kona Village. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and have kombucha on tap (you can take a growler with you). Most importantly, their Kona coffee selection—sourced from local purveyors Buddha’s Cup and Daylight Mind—is not to be missed.
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