Pounders Cooks Up Good Times, Great Food

Features Order of the Day

June 28, 2015

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

July Fourth is just around the corner, and with it comes the chance to celebrate! And who doesn’t love a celebration? Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) agrees, and is excited to extend an open invitation to all kamaaina and visitors to spend this special holiday at its newest addition, Hukilau Marketplace, and in particular, its on-site full-service restaurant Pounders.

Located within the Marketplace, which enjoyed its grand opening earlier this year, Pounders is named after Laie’s popular nearby bodysurfing locale, and offers a newly expanded menu filled with island-inspired eats that are rustic yet refined, and always delicious.

Poised to oversee Pounders’ present and future delicacies are newly appointed veteran of the hospitality field, general manager David Nagaishi, and chef de cuisine Sean Priester, whose more than 30 years of experience is evident in every mouthwatering bite he bakes. Utilizing a kiawe-wood-burning brick oven, and boasting an in-house bakery, Priester and his crew daily deliver delicious hearth-baked desserts and pastries, piping hot pizza pies and more.

Start your morning off right with one of Pounders’ assorted baked goods (prices vary), including Taro Rolls, Cream Puffs, Pineapple Bars, Panipopo and more. For your lunch or dinner repast, reach for a Ho Farms Tomato Pizza ($12), featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients and thin, traditional styled crust baked to a perfect crisp in the brick oven. It just might bring you to your knees. In addition to this dynamic duo of options, the eatery offers a smattering of selections drawn directly from local island farms, including Hawaii-raised beef, locally caught seafood, savory delights from the Pacific Rim and more.

Patrons can’t go wrong with an Ahi and Avocado BLT ($17) sandwich, consisting of a hearty mix of bacon and fresh fish mixed with the spry addition of avocado, tomatoes and lettuce veggies.

And as patrons join Hukilau Marketplace in celebrating our present freedoms this Independence Day, the cultural center also pays homage to Hawaii’s proud past and Polynesian heritage. President and CEO of PCC Alfred Grace explains, “It’s always been important to us that we remember the legacy on which the Polynesian Cultural Center was built. The Marketplace relives the golden era from Laie’s storied past, something I am sure both locals and visitors will appreciate.”

Flinging wide its doors for a three-day festival of fun (held July 2-4), the Marketplace offers visitors family-friendly activities, including hot dog and water-melon eating contests, free nightly movies hosted on the expansive lawn, daily sidewalk sales, a talent show and, of course, amazing food. The event will finish with a concert featuring BET and Ron Artis II.

And for those chefs with a competitive streak, PCC presents its own fun-filled Barbecue Cook-off, starring locals just like you! Think “Masterchef” meets Mom’s kitchen, and then dial it up a notch, as all entrants are invited to bring the heat — as well as their own grill, supplies and best, top-secret barbecue beef or pork recipe to smoke the rivals! The event is open to the public (registration required).


Hukilau Marketplace, Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy., Laie
Monday-Saturday, Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. • Dinner: 4-10 p.m. (Aunty Emily’s Bakery, located within, opens earlier at 8 a.m.)

Laie, HI 96762

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Hawaii's Best