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Kalapawai Cafe and Market Does Kailua Proud

By Michelle Lee
November 16, 2014

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With a history that stems as far back as the 1920s, Kailua’s Kalapawai Cafe and Kalapawai Market truly have become neighborhood gems through the years. Operating from two locations, the cafe and market unite to offer a restaurant, wine bar, bakery, gourmet deli and coffee bar.

“My father, Don, initially purchased the shop from the Longs family in the 1980s,” explains owner Lindsey Dymond. “It was always his dream to turn Kalapawai into something more than just a grocery store.”

Today, the cafe is one of Kailua’s most-frequented eateries, serving sumptuous cuisine made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. While the deli counter boasts tasty takeout options such as the popular Da Skinny ($9.95), — slow-roasted kalua pork, homemade coleslaw and a house guava barbecue sauce nestled between taro buns. The restaurant also features an impressive dinner program starting at 5 p.m. daily.

Under the direction of executive chef Jason Iwane, the Kalapawai’s dinner menu infuses the island’s natural produce, as well as line-caught fish.

“We have dishes that are lighter, vegetarian, gluten-free and more,” says Dymond. “Whether you are in a small or large group, there is something for everyone.”

Celebrating fresh greens with high-quality protein, Grilled Lemon and Herb Jidori Chicken Breast ($18) is a customer favorite that’s served with roasted bacon, cucumber, avocado, Hauula tomatoes, sweet corn, romaine, croutons and a creamy ‘Nalo herb dressing. For a heartier option, Fire Roasted Shinsato Farms Double-cut Pork Chop ($26) is a crowd pleaser, seasoned with balsamic-veal au jus, apple, bacon, bread pudding, braised kale with mushrooms and roasted Cipollini onions.

Along with dinner service, Kalapawai Cafe hosts free wine tasting the second Sunday of each month, when customers are allowed to try five wines.

“It’s a great way to learn about new wines, especially those you would normally not order on your own,” says Dymond.

In addition to the cafe, Kalapawai Market offers coffee and deli service all day. “The market is a great place to go midday or when you are en route to the beach.”

With Kailua’s recent rise in tourism, the neighborhood dining scene has witnessed an influx of Mainland and international visitors, who appreciate the cafe and market’s dedication to highlighting local ingredients and flavors creatively. “We try not to follow any particular trends,” says Dymond. “In the end, our goal is to serve quality dishes that taste good, and are good for you and the community.”

Kalapawai Cafe

Kalapawai Cafe
750 Kailua Road
262-3354
Daily, 6 A.M.-9 P.M.

Kalapawai Market
306 S. Kalaheo Ave.
262-4359
Daily, 6 A.M.-9 P.M.
Kalapawaimarket.com