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The Best Brews

Cover Story

November 7, 2021

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Growler Hawaii owner Bill Muneno (with a Koko Wave and Growler Mac and Cheese with Chicken) and his daughter Jessica (with the Oven-Roasted Chicken Wings and a Beer Brat Slider) pose for a photo.

With an eclectic collection of quality craft beverages, a diverse menu and an inviting atmosphere just blocks away from Waikiki Beach, Growler Hawaii serves as the ideal neighborhood pub that welcomes each guest as part of the ohana.

Growler Hawaii opened five years ago, originally as a franchisee of the Growler USA chain. After the franchise went out of business in 2020 due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Growler Hawaii forged ahead as an independent business on bustling Kapahulu Avenue, wholly operated by owner Bill Muneno and his skilled team members — most of whom are born and raised on Oahu.

“We opened with the thought of being the go-to place for beer lovers,” Muneno says. “We offer 100 taps of craft and macro beers, hard ciders and wines. One-third of these taps are currently pouring locally brewed beverages. We are working toward increasing this as more local brewers come online to supply us.

Beer Brat Sliders ($11.50) and Kalua Pork Sliders ($11.50)

“Draft beer, in my opinion, tastes better than bottled or canned beer providing the tap system is maintained properly. We also have spirits and cocktails available.”

Growler Hawaii’s cuisine features a mix of local, American and Latin dishes. Kalua Pork Sliders ($11.50) serve as a go-to pupu featuring three sliders with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Oven Baked Wings ($11.75 for six, $16.75 for nine, $22 for 12) are tossed in one of Growler Hawaii’s four sauces: Baked Buffalo, Honey Sriracha, BBQ or Grilled Asian.

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos ($11)

Kalua Pork Nacho Dip ($12.75) is built with ono kalua pork smothered with a signature housemade cheese sauce and topped with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and green onions. This popular appetizer is served with tortilla chips on the side because Muneno hates soggy chips!

The Growler Mac and Cheese ($8.50, $12 with a choice of kalua pork, chicken or bratwurst) is a must-try entrée with the aforementioned cheese sauce enveloping rotini pasta. Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos ($11) includes two tacos with succulent mahi mahi dusted with Cajun seasoning and accompanied by pico de gallo and coleslaw all in soft taco shells.

“Our goal is to create a safe and clean environment with an easy-going atmosphere that locals and tourists alike will enjoy,” Muneno says. “Our kitchen staff works very hard to deliver a consistent product, and we also have salads and desserts available. I am very proud of our staff that helps to bring our goals to life every day.”

Growler Mac and Cheese ($8.50; shown with chicken for $3.50 more)

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Growler Hawaii team complies with the latest health and safety mandates. From disinfecting tables and chairs, to limiting seating capacity to ensure proper distancing for customers, the restaurant is prepared to serve guests safely and with a smile — and a nod when smiles are covered by masks.

“Whatever success we have had is due to the fantastic customers we have and the great employees that serve them,” Muneno says. “My favorite beer is Koko Wave, and it’s only available here. Come in and our employees will be happy to share with you how their inept owner created this, by accident of course!”

Oven-Roasted Chicken Wings ($22 for a dozen)

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best