Riding a flavorful wave of kalua pork
See more articles from Kono's
Kono’s, the popular North Shore eatery known for its ono slow-roasted kalua pig, has expanded to Honolulu with a second location on Kapahulu Avenue next to Leonard’s Bakery.
Since opening in Haleiwa 14 years ago, Kono’s has built a growing following of both locals and tourists, including many surfers across the island. Stop in for a quick grab-and-go meal, or sit and enjoy a casual dining experience.
On the menu are Kono’s famous Breakfast Bombers, sandwiches, bagels and biscuits, wraps, plate lunches and more. A must-try is Chuns ($7.99), a Breakfast Bomber (think breakfast burrito) featuring a warm tortilla loaded with seasoned potatoes, scrambled eggs, Jack and cheddar cheeses, bacon and Kono’s signature 12-hour slow-roasted pulled pork.
Owner Stan Glander also recommends Old School ($9.29), a French roll sandwich packed with kalua pig, guava barbecue sauce, grilled onions and slaw. For lighter fare, try Pig on Grass ($10.29), consisting of kalua pig on lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts and homemade papaya seed dressing.
Both locations have the same menu and laid-back vibe, however, special to the Kapahulu location is Kapahulu Tacos ($7.99), highlighting two crunchy taco shells stuffed with shredded cheese, pulled kalua pork, guava barbecue sauce, slaw, onions and tomatoes.
“Our main ingredient is pork,” says Glander. “We have some non-pork items too, but most of the people come for the pork.
“We also make our own papaya seed dressing. All of our salsas are homemade. And we’ve had requests from customers to buy our pork seasoning, and we’ll sell it to them.”
Kono’s also offers refreshing smoothies, freshly squeezed lemonade/limeade and homemade milkshakes prepared with premium vanilla ice cream. Among the favorite milkshakes are Oreo Cheesecake ($6.50) with Oreo, graham crackers and cream cheese; and Mud Pie ($6.50) with coffee, Oreo and caramel.
Kono’s opens at 7 a.m. daily, attracting a morning breakfast crowd with waves of customers rolling in through the lunch break. The Kapahulu restaurant, which opened in April, also serves customers into the early evening.
“We got a lot of requests from customers wanting to come here on their way home, so we started staying open later until 6:30 p.m.,” explains Glander, adding that he’s looking at opening a third restaurant.
As for the name Kono’s, “Somewhere back in the past there was a surfing pig named Kono and that’s how it originally came about,” he says. “Everyone seemed to know this pig.”
That pig also became the inspiration for the company logo, and is a connecting bond between members of the exclusive Tattoo Crew. To join, customers just need to show a tattoo of a surfing pig on their body, and they get 25 percent off at Kono’s for life. There are about 20 in the crew at Haleiwa (you can find their pictures on the eatery’s Tattoo Crew wall), and about five so far at Kapahulu.
945 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu
Daily, 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
North Shore Marketplace
66-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa
Daily, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.