Flavors of Yesteryear

Cover Story

August 27, 2023

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

When dining at Duke’s Waikiki, you will not only take delight in delectable dishes — but you’ll also be enriched in all its history, too. The eatery was first established in December 1992 by T S Restaurants, which set out to create eateries with a genuine sense of place. Paying homage to the legendary and beloved waterman Duke Kahanamoku, the restaurant’s décor, offerings and community initiatives exemplify his life, service and achievements.

Lunch buffet entrées at Duke’s Waikiki

Duke’s Waikiki is part of a proud family of establishments, which includes T S Restaurant’s flagship and first-ever eatery, Kimo’s on Front Street in Maui, which was devastatingly lost in the tragic wildfires. Its legacy lives on through its sister restaurants, including Duke’s Waikiki.

Partial outdoor seating

Guests will enjoy island favorites and Hawaiian-style dining at its finest with a selection of fresh fish and steak, while also experiencing breathtaking views and live entertainment. Its Barefoot Bar also offers a casual experience with refreshing tropical cocktails.

Indoor seating and buffet line

We had the chance to speak to Duke’s Waikiki’s general manager Drew Crocker to learn more about this destination restaurant and its new lunch buffet.

DO: Can you describe the ambiance and décor of the restaurant?

DC: Duke’s Waikiki is an open-air restaurant offering an ambiance that is a nostalgic return to the Waikiki of yesteryear, when surfing and canoeing reigned supreme. The décor is a tribute to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, known as “the father of modern-day surfing,” and the old-time beach boys. Throughout the restaurant, guests will see over 15,000 feet of koa wood, peeled rattan plaiting, palm-thatched roofs and umbrellas, Hawaiian fabric upholstery and touches of lauhala and bamboo. Along the walls, guests will encounter photos of Duke Kahanamoku with celebrities, community and cultural icons, scenic views and more — all which capture the vibrant history and spirit of old Hawaii and Waikiki.

A plated selection of entrées from the Lunch Buffet ($31) including fried rice, all-natural kalua pork and cabbage, kalbi short ribs and North Shore garlic shrimp

DO: How would you describe the cuisine?

DC: This casual dining spot serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — each menu featuring American foods with a local twist.

Offerings include fresh island fish, prime steaks and seafood specialties as well as pastas, burgers and more. Buffets are offered daily for breakfast, lunch and a salad bar for dinner. On Thursdays, we offer a meat lovers prime rib buffet.

A variety of options including teriyaki chicken, North Shore garlic shrimp and kalbi short ribs, all part of the Lunch Buffet ($31)

To wash it all down, we have a large selection of local beers on tap, Hawaii-inspired cocktails, wines, tropical fruit juices, smoothies and refreshing slushies.

Our menus were made to provide an authentic Hawaiian-style dining experience for the entire family to enjoy.

DO: Tell us about Duke’s new lunch buffet.

DC: Served in our new renovated buffet, Duke’s offers made-to-order poke bowls, North Shore garlic shrimp, teriyaki chicken, all-natural kalua pork and cabbage, kalbi short ribs and healthy ancient grain salads. Cost is $31.

DO: What do you love most about Duke’s Waikiki?

DC: I personally love the way that we connect with our staff, sense of place, guests and community partners. It makes being part of the Duke’s ohana a lifestyle with deeper connection.

2335 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best