Diners Reach Hog Heaven at Kono’sCover Story Features
September 9, 2016
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
The iconic surfing pig featured in its logo recognizes a swine’s success on the waves, and appropriately, Kono’s has achieved the Triple Crown of restaurant operations by serving up delicious cuisine in a clean, friendly environment — and doing so with stellar customer service.
Situated on Kapahulu Avenue next to Leonard’s Bakery, Kono’s features the same ono pork-inspired dishes and surf-themed ambiance as the original Haleiwa location, which opened its doors on the North Shore 14 years ago. Kono’s slow-roasted signature kalua pig steals the show, and at both restaurants, kamaaina and visitors alike keep coming back for more of the mouth-watering pig.
Owner Stan Glander explains that the kalua pork is prepared with a house-secret recipe and cooking technique that takes over 12 hours. It’s made at the Haleiwa location and delivered fresh daily to Kapahulu to ensure the proper quality and taste are consistent for all diners. Customers can reach for Pork Plate Lunch ($10.29), a hearty portion of pulled pork served with rice, mesclun green salad, homemade guava barbecue sauce and a house-made papaya seed dressing.
“This whole concept started with pulled pork and the way we slow-cook the pig, but we’ve become well known for our service and welcoming, laid-back environment,” Glander explains. “We cook the pork with a secret recipe, and in the morning when we pull the pig out of the roaster, it’s so tender that the meat falls right off the bone.”
Triple Crown ($14.99) offers up a trifecta of pork perfection, as this superb sandwich is stacked within a toasted French roll containing kalua pork, thin-sliced ham and thick-cut bacon. The sandwich also incorporates the tangy homemade guava barbecue sauce, cheese and slaw, and is accompanied by Maui onion potato chips.
“It’s a jam-packed sandwich. If you can eat that and still be hungry, there’s something wrong with you,” says Glander with a chuckle. “We offer local flavor, both in our food and spirit. If you stop in and check us out, you won’t be disappointed.”
Diners in pursuit of a healthier option, or those who enjoy a diet without meat, can dive into Avocado Veggie Wrap ($9). This light-yet-filling choice is composed of mesclun greens, cheese, tomato, cucumber, avocado, clover sprout and homemade papaya seed dressing, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla and served with Maui onion potato chips.
“Some people come in and want a burrito, or a ‘Bomber,’ as we call it, and health-conscious customers are looking for something different, yet delicious,” says Glander of the veggie wrap.
Kono’s also offers refreshing beverages including smoothies, milkshakes, coffee and juices, which are prepared to order with fresh ingredients. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot Hawaiian day than fresh-squeezed Strawberry Lemonade or Mint Limeade ($4 apiece) prepared on the spot by one of Kono’s friendly team members.
“We offer a relaxed, chill environment, but follow that up with really great food and even better customer service,” says Kono’s director of franchise operations Zach Glander. “At our Kapahulu location, we’ve seen a lot of local families come in and enjoy the Kono’s experience. It’s been great to watch people enjoy a true slice of Hawaii.”
Diners are encouraged to follow Kono’s across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (search “Kono’s Hawaii”) and Instagram (@konosrestaurant).
Some graphically inclined patrons have joined Kono’s Tattoo Crew and have definitely dived whole hog into the restaurant’s concept and brand. These dedicated diners have surfing pig-inspired tattoos adorning their bodies, which are proudly displayed via images on the restaurants’ walls. For their efforts, Tattoo Crew members receive a 25 percent discount for life.
It Pays to Represent Kono’s
Kono’s sells a wide range of merchandise at its restaurants, including everything from coffee mugs to T-shirts. Patrons who purchase and wear a hat, shirt or both when frequenting Kono’s receive a 10 percent discount. As director of franchise operations Zach Glander explains, the merchandise “pays for itself!”
945 Kapahulu Ave.,Honolulu
Open daily, 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
67-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa
Open daily, 7 a.m-2:30 p.m.