Travel

Kauai Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Warehouse3540
3540 Koloa Rd., Kalaheo
Occupying a former glass factory in Lawai, this sweet community center is home to food trucks and stands like Roots in Culture (healthy comfort food), Chipwrecked (Hawaiian nachos), The Fresh Shave (shave ice), and Dark Roost Coffee. There are also a handful of cute, local boutiques offering everything from shell jewelry to bathing suits and stationery. They also do storytime for little kids, offer a farmer's market on Friday, and host community events like live music.
Hanalei Bread Company
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei
This brand-new, open-air coffee shop café—from the same people as Bar Acuda—is one of those spots that's perpetually packed, though you can generally always snag a spot (they also do a lot of perfect pre-packed beach picnic fare). While it's not exclusively allergen-free, there are tons of options for the gluten- and dairy-averse, including really good almond milk lattes and delicious rolls and breads. Brunch-time is particularly prime (consider a stop on your way to hike the Napali coast), as they offer very kid-friendly crepes, as well as lots of egg dishes.
Kauai Juice Co.
4270 Kilauea Rd., Kilauea
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.
Puka Dog
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr., Koloa
So much better than your typical (open-faced) ballgame dog, Puka Dog serves their variation in their own Hawaiian sweet bread, which they toast on custom skewers. Rather than slicing the bread open, Puka serves their Polish sausages and veggie dogs—along with your choice of garlic lemon secret sauce, Hawaiian fruit relish, and mustard sauce—fully enclosed in the roll, which makes them surprisingly easier to eat. All that said, this meal is best followed by an afternoon nap at the beach, as opposed to say, a hike.
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.
Java Kai
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.
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