Travel

Kauai Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
Banana Joe’s Fruit Stand
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
5-5070 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.
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