Squat, Eat, Repeat

Ono, You Know

August 19, 2018

Story By: Ellise Kakazu | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

My mom has been a health fanatic for as long as I can remember, far before hipster juice bars and non-GMO labels. In fact, most of my early childhood memories involve her serving up colorful fruits and vegetables on pretty platters and taking me to the grocery store, where she would point out what I should and shouldn’t eat.

The years of grocery store lessons paid off, as I now am a full-grown health nut. As the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

And this apple truly believes health is wealth. So in order to ensure I remain as healthy as can be, I try to exercise a few times a week and incorporate as many vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts and grains into my diet. While this has been my lifestyle for years, in all honesty I haven’t been keeping it up lately, as I have been skipping gym days and eating a little too much chocolate cake (my ultimate guilty pleasure).

However, I recently made a vow to myself to get back into the swing of things. With a resurgence of motivation flowing through my veins, I decided to pick up where I left off and start by dining on one of the most nutrient-dense, time-tested superfoods around — beef liver!


Searching the island for liver dishes is quite a task, as the number of restaurants that serve the nutritious organ meat is few and far between.

New Eagle Cafe’s Beef Liver ($16.25)

Thankfully, a little bird told me New Eagle Cafe in Nimitz Center offers just what I am looking for. So let’s check it out!

Covered in sliced, grilled onions and a hefty piece of bacon, the restaurant’s Beef Liver ($16.25, only available for lunch and dinner) is sure to satisfy anyone looking to fuel up on the nutritious piece of protein.

Longtime sever Maria Dona notes liver and onions is a traditional pairing, and has been around ever since she can remember. She also explains New Eagle keeps it simple when it comes to its liver dish, as it is served without added seasonings, allowing the natural flavors to shine through — customers can add a dash of salt, soy sauce or ketchup, if they wish.

The restaurant’s classic liver presentation comes with a choice of starch (brown or white rice, mashed potatoes or french fries) and a helping of mixed vegetables. According to Dona, New Eagle’s Beef Liver is “really good” and is quite popular among customers, especially senior diners.

Liver is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B12, protein, iron, copper and many other essential nutrients.

In addition to the superfood, New Eagle offers a range of dishes including Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, Chinese Chicken Salad, Oxtail Soup, Teriyaki Butterfish w/tofu and the ever-popular Hawaiian Chopped Steak served with celery, onion, tomato and bell pepper.

Whether you decide to swoop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any meal in between, you definitely will walk away feeling recharged. I know I did!


In the spirit of health and fitness, let’s make our way down to Waikiki, where we can bask in scenic sights, increase our step count and discover great dining destinations like Wailana Coffee House.

Wailana Coffee House’s Tender Beef Liver with fruit cup ($16.25)

Stepping into Wailana Coffee House, one instantly will feel the restaurant’s undeniable spirit of aloha and hospitality.

“We want you to feel welcomed and cared for from the time you enter until the time you leave,” says Kenton Tom, general manager of Wailana Coffee House. “Everyone who comes to Wailana is special. Assuring your dining pleasure and comfort is a profound responsibility we at Wailana take seriously.”

Wailana Coffee House has been taking its kuleana (often translated to responsibility in Hawaiian) seriously since 1969, serving up top-notch service and food seven days a week.

Many items the iconic restaurant offers are tried-and-true favorites, and one of them happens to be Tender Beef Liver ($16.25), which is lightly dusted with salt and pepper, floured and cooked on a grill.

Once the liver is seasoned and cooked to perfection, it is served with grilled onions, crispy bacon, hot vegetable of the day, choice of starch and either a trip to the salad bar, soup or a fruit cup.

Eating liver can help boost one’s eye health and immune system.

According to Tom, Tender Beef Liver is available 24 hours a day and is a very popular dish — the item has been on the menu for nearly 49 years.

“Liver is delicious and healthy,” notes Tom. Other tasty menu options customers can find at Wailana Coffee House are omelets, pancakes, steaks, sandwiches and many local favorites.

What’s more, the restaurant will be unveiling new offerings in September — “Hearty Quick Picks,” a great selection of filling meals priced at $11.95.

“We have delicious homemade food at a reasonable price, says Tom. “We continue to evolve and change while still keeping the things of value the same.”

Winding down this lively Ono excursion, I hope you are inspired to live and eat healthier. It’s never too late to start or hit the reset button — just take it one step, squat and bite at a time!

Honolulu, HI 96817

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best