Wailana’s Classics Keep on ShiningColumns Lite Bites
October 6, 2013
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
When Francis Tom opened Wailana Coffee House in 1969, his desire was for his customers to feel welcomed and special, and to provide good food at a great value. Today, the landmark family-friendly eatery in Waikiki (on the corner of Ala Moana Blvd. and Ena Road, across from Hilton Hawaiian Village) continues to be a favorite for locals and visitors from around the world.
The extensive menu of local-style food and American classics includes many of the original dishes from when the restaurant first opened, such as the Meat-Loaf Extraordinaire ($13.35). Baked fresh every day, it’s one of Wailana’s most popular items, and features a hearty, meaty flavor topped with a rich homemade pickled gravy sauce, piquante, chives, sour gherkins, mushrooms, tarragon and shallots. It also is served with a baked potato, loaf of warm sourdough bread, grilled pineapple spear, salad bar, beverage and a chocolate sundae with macadamia nuts and whipped topping.
Also popular are the Chef’s Daily Specials, which change week to week but include items such as the Catch of the Day Scampi Style ($11.75) served with a choice of soup, salad bar or fruit cup and a choice of baked potato with sour cream and butter, rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or french fries.
The fish is seasoned and grilled, finished with a garlic butter and lemon sauce, and sauteed with mushrooms, tomatoes and parsley.
Craving a steak for breakfast, banana split for lunch, pancakes for dinner or saimin in the middle of the night? Well, Wailana can satisfy just about any craving at anytime of the day. Open 24 hours a day, except for one night of the week (from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday), Wailana also has a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, steak, fish and shell fish, pasta, roasted chicken, saimin, salads, omelettes and more.
For dessert, the Banana Lumpia with Ice Cream ($5.75), which was added to the menu about a year ago, is one of the best I’ve had and simply irresistible. This local favorite features two pieces of perfectly deep fried banana lumpia and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with whipped topping, chocolate syrup and macadamia nuts. There also is a cocktail lounge (seating about 50 people) with a pupu menu and the regular restaurant menu available to order from. Enjoy happy hour specials from noon to 6 p.m. daily (in the cocktail lounge only) featuring $2 domestic beers and well drinks, and 50 percent off pupus (Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.). The cocktail lounge also offers karaoke from 9 p.m. to midnight (except for Tuesday and Thursday), and has become a popular spot for some of Hawaii’s talented singers. The restaurant even sponsored a group of its regulars at the Talent Quest National Karaoke Contest in Laughlin, Nevada last month. From the six-member team, Janel Akana placed first in the female pop division, Maka Esteban took fourth in the male country and second in the male pop divisions, and Robert Centeno placed fourth in the male pop division. Also, team captain Amado Cacho and Joey Kaalekahi placed in the top 20.
“We’ve always considered ourselves casual dining for the family,” says general manager Kenton Tom. “And we try to keep my father’s philosophy of always taking care of our customers, seeing to their needs and being flexible.”
Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd.
Open daily, 24 hours (Closed from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday)
Note: Public parking available below the restaurant.