Local Grinds Bring People Together

Columns Surf and Turf

January 19, 2014

Story By: Steve Murray | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Eighty years is a long time, especially in the food industry. Yet, People’s Cafe in downtown Honolulu continues to succeed because it does what its generation of customers have come to expect — fresh homemade food that is big in portion and low on price.

Owners Thomas Ventura and Conrad Valdriz took over the restaurant in 2012, and added their personal touches to the menu. The Hawaiian favorites remain, but the added Filipino fare just makes a good thing even better.

Loyal patrons love People’s Cafe’s Hawaiian Plate ($12.50). Packed high with lau lau, kalua pork, chicken long rice or squid luau, lomi salmon, a choice of rice or poi, and a slice of haupia, this popular plate is a crowd-pleaser.

People’s Cafe sells more than 100 bundles of soft and juicy pork lau lau each day.

“We often sell out of lau lau. Everything is made fresh in-house,” says Valdriz. “We make extra-large lau lau to satisfy our customers, and it always brings them back.”

Another special worth investigating is Barbecue Ribs and Shrimp ($12.50). Baby back ribs are steamed tender and barbecued with a sauce so good — the recipe is kept highly underwraps. The ribs are then paired with naturally sweet shrimp sauteed in a garlic butter sauce and served with a side of rice.

People’s Cafe also showcases its blend of culinary stylings in its Short Ribs Pipikaula Style ($13.95). Thick-cut short ribs are marinated for 24 hours in a shoyu, garlic and ginger sauce (plus other secret ingredients). Once flavored, the meat is dried and cooked to perfection, resulting in morsels of smoky, sweet meat that bursts with flavor.

Preparing for a party or big gathering? The restaurant also features a catering menu, which includes everything from pork adobo to chicken katsu and tripe stew. And tako, mussels and ahi poke will have everyone nibbling away before the main courses are served.

So, when you’re in the mood for Hawaii’s finest fare, People’s Cafe will hook you up.

People’s Cafe

1310 Pali Hwy., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sunday, 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96813

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