Hawaii Feasting: Lunch Edition, Part 1

September 8, 2021

Update 2022: Sadly, ‘Ōlena closed its doors on December 24, 2021.

It’s been just over two years since I moved home to Hawaii. I was fortunate to find a job early last year, just before things shut down due to the pandemic. I am grateful for this blessing every day. I work with a wonderful group of people and they introduce me to many delicious places that I never knew existed. Here are a few of the “new to me” places where we grab lunch:

Butcher & Bird

Both an artisan butcher and a deli, Butcher & Bird was a great find. There aren’t many dedicated butcher shops in Hawaii and this is one of them. You can find house made sausages and fresh cuts of meat. The folks there are friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help. But if you’re looking for a really great, juicy, messy burger, try their double cheeseburger (and get lots of napkins). It’s well worth the post-meal food coma.

324 Coral St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 762-8095
Instagram: @butcherandbird

E.A.R.L.

If you’re looking for a good, hearty sandwich, chances are you’ll find something you like (or love) at E.A.R.L. The original location is in Kaimuki but the shop in Kakaako is closest to the office (and they have fries!). Their sandwiches are creative and the portions are generous. I always get two meals out of any sandwich I ordered (although some of my co-workers can easily devour a full sandwich).

400 Keawe Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 744-3370
Instagram: @earlkakaako

Fat Cheeks Hawaii

As someone who spent a good part of her life in New England, it surprises me that I’ve eaten as many lobster rolls in Hawaii as I have. In Boston I almost always had a classic mayonnaise-based lobster roll but at Fat Cheeks, I have only had the garlic butter lobster roll. I’ve considered trying their classic version but the buttered lobster is just too good.

1200 Ala Moana Boulevard (in Ward Center)
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 773-4129
Instagram: @fatcheekshawaii

Hamada General Store

Hamada General Store is a place that pays homage to the plate lunch but also adds its own spin. It’s both familiar and exciting to see their creative take on loco moco, poke, and lechon. They also have breakfast options and lighter fare (like the tofu watercress salad below).

885 Queen St
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 379-1992
Instagram: @hamadageneralstore

Left Wing Chicken

This popular South Korea fried chicken chain is located in the second floor food court at H-Mart in Kakaako. Their boneless chicken tenders are crispy, saucy, and spicy, but not too spicy. You can have them on their own, in a sandwich, or in a rice bowl. Just don’t forget the pickles.

458 Keawe Street, H Mart Market Eatery
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 201-6386
Instagram: @leftwing.kakaako

O’Kim’s Korean Kitchen

O’Kim’s is an easy walk from the office and we’re always looking at what may tempt us on the monthly menu specials. They prepare tasty, modern Korean dishes and offer a balance of meat and vegetarian options.

1028 Nuuanu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 537-3787
Instagram: @okims_honolulu

‘Ōlena by Chef Ron Simon

Like Hamada General Store, ‘Ōlena offers a chefier version of the plate lunch like prime rib katsu and adobo fried rice. They also offer other comfort classics like chicken pot pie and cheesesteaks. And I can’t resist the oh-so-Instagrammable Royal Filipino Lemonade.

1933 Republican St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808)-745-7777
Instagram: @olenahi

Pongo’s Kitchen

Pongo’s is one of those old school local places with very little parking and super yummy food. It’s a place I would have never known about if it wasn’t for my co-workers. My favorite is the guava chicken – yes, more fried chicken. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, with generous portions to take you straight to a delicious food coma.

414 Mokauea Street, Suite D.
Honolulu, HI  96819
(808) 847-2291
Instagram: @pongoskitchen

Scratch Kitchen

To be honest, I only went to Scratch once and I don’t remember much. What I do remember is deep fried deviled eggs. Yes, that’s right, deep fried deviled eggs. Go get ’em!

1170 Auahi St Suite 175
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 589-1669
Instagram: @scratchkitchenhi

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