Moloka'i Restaurants, Grocery Stores, & Farms

I've lived on Moloka'i for many years and now know a lot of local people. We talk story and share local opinions about local establishments. Naturally I try these businesses myself and then pass my opinions on to you. Just remember that Moloka'i is not Oahu, Maui, or the Big Island, and it is not for the rich and famous, it's for people who just want to slow down, and enjoy peace and quiet. This is a small community, with only one small hotel, a handful of restaurants, grocery stores, and farms that sell to the public, and they are all listed here. Because of that, you can count on this review being up-to-date, and chef tested. You may not agree with what I have to say, but it's my honest opinion.


Moloka'i Restaurants:

Front entrance to Hotel Moloka'i
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Hotel Molokai, our only hotel, is located at 1300 Kamehameha V Hwy., just 2 miles east of Kaunakakai. 

The traditional island-themed rooms in Polynesian-style bungalows include flat-screen TVs with DVD players, iPod docks and WiFi (fee), as well as minifridges, coffeemakers and balconies. Upgraded rooms add ocean views or kitchenettes. Phone (877) 553-5347 for reservations.

There's on-site parking (fee), and an outdoor pool.


Hiro's Ohana Grill 
The newly decorated open-air steak house style restaurant and bar within Hotel Moloka'i, is now open 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner, from 11am to 9pm, under Chef Cameron Hiro and family.

Please phone (808) 660-5400 or (808) 660-3401 for reservations or questions.






My wife and I had lunch at Hiro's Ohana Grill today. We both ordered the ahi fresh fish burger pictured above. It was grilled and served on a brioche bun garnished with lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and a caper tartar sauce. It also came with crispy local sweet potato fries. Cost $34.38 plus tip for the two of us. The service was very good thanks to our waitress Arianna. Unfortunately the restaurant was only about 1/3 full of customers, but I suspect that will change as soon as the word gets out that they are doing a great job. 

A couple of suggestions Chef Hiro... replace the dill pickle (see photo above) with a slice of fresh local fruit like pineapple, mango, or melon. Also the cost of a glass of tea in your restaurant is $3.00! According to this website, "iced tea is the low food cost champ of all time which can be less than a penny per glass". Another website says the cost per 6 oz. glass of tea ranges from 3 cents to 50 cents depending on the grade of tea. $3.00 a glass is a bit high for Moloka'i don't you think. It makes me wonder what else is overpriced on your menu. If you want local business, keep your prices low, but I shouldn't have to tell you that.

One of the things that I have always enjoyed about this location is the view of the ocean right off of the open-air dining room. I guess your prices are fairly reasonable considering the million dollar view but I'm not so sure about whether other locals will feel the same way. I have recently talked to others who have eaten at your restaurant and have run into mixed reviews. I look forward to trying out the dinner menu next time.

For more photos and info click here.



Paddler's Restaurant & Bar is our largest restaurant/bar on island and is under NEW "local" ownership. Chef Kainoa Turner is serving local food, as well as Asian, Italian, and Mexican food, plus specials everyday of the week. I'm happy to report that Chef Kainoa's food is quite good. The restaurant had a steady stream of local customers filling the large dining room. They were serving pupus like Korean chicken wings, cilantro lime shrimp, and pork belly satay. My wife had a wedge salad with huge shrimp with gorgonzola dressing, bacon and tomato topped with bacon. They have a nice selection of sandwiches and burgers, plus entrees like a 12 ounce rib eye Hawaiian steak plate with sautéed mushrooms and onion served with rice & mac salad. I could go on and on, but take my word for it that the food is well prepared.

I realize that the restaurant just recently opened, but I hope they do something about the drab old furniture left from the previous owner, as well as the pool table left covered in the entrance way. In other words, a fresh coat of paint is needed. The most important thing is that the food and service was good and it was. Unfortunately they only seemed to have one waitress, who was working very hard to keep up with the orders.

Paddler's is open for breakfast from 8-10, lunch from 11-3 and dinner from 5-9, happy hour is from 2-5. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and from 6 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, closed Sunday. Located at 10 Mohala Street, Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI, 96748. Phone (808) 553-3300.





Kanemitsu's Bakery & Restaurant  Kanemitsu Bakery, in Kaunakakai, is an 80 year old bakery known for its baked goods and their "hot sweet bread" served out of its back door late at night, right after it is baked. The loaves are split open and slathered with jelly, cream cheese, butter, cinnamon or sugar. The bakery sells between 100 and 300 loaves of "hot" bread every night, sold between 7:30 pm until midnight, except on Monday's. Expect to pay around $6 a loaf for the sweet bread, cash only! Call 553-5855 for more information.

The Restaurant has a few tables and booths, and the food is popular with both the locals and visitors. Owner George Kanemitsu and general manager, Blossom Poepoe, serve specials everyday for breakfast and lunch. When you go into the restaurant, notice the 3 old murals on the walls depicting hula dancers, painted by an unknown artist when the bakery was built in 1935. Located at 79 Ala Malama Street, Kaunakakai. Restaurant/Bakery hours: 5:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Sunday except Tuesday, when they are closed.





The Kualapu'u Cookhouse is located near the Coffees of Hawaii Plantation in the plantation village of Kualapu'u. This small casual restaurant has been popular with both locals and visitors for years. The service is warm and friendly, delivering an array of local Moloka'i food favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favorite is the delicious prime rib served every Thursday night, with all the trimmings.


They serve breakfast until 11:00 am, including an ono loco moco-house made beef patty, rice & gravy topped with tomatoes, cheese and green onions. Monday 7:00 am - 2:00 pm, Tuesday - Sat 7 am - 8 pm, open Sunday 11:00 am-10:00 pm with breakfast all day. Liquor is not served here but you can bring your own bottle. They do not take reservations or credit cards. The Kualapu'u Cookhouse is located on Highway 470 and Uwao Street, in Kualapu'u. Call for take-out 808-567-9655.

Lemon chicken with rice and mac salad
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Moloka'i Burger is located in Kaunakakai, with a great location across from the Chevron station. Today I ordered two "Moloka'i Burgers", which came with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a special sauce. I also ordered one order of fries and two small soft drinks for a total of $18.23. To me, that's a lot considering that the burger's buns looked like someone used them for a pillow last night. Their fried chicken is better than their burgers in my opinion. They are usually open for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 9 pm, closed Sunday. 20 Kamehameha V Hwy, Kaunakakai. 808-553-3533.




The Moloka'i Pizza Cafeour only pizza restaurant, serves a good pizza as well as other dishes, like a huge grilled garden burger served with a flat bread bun made of pizza dough, and all of the trimmings, or a roast beef pocket sandwich. Saturday and Sunday they serve prime rib. It's a little pricy here, but almost everything is pricy on Moloka'i. My wife and I shared a small pizza with soft drinks for $22 plus tip. The good news is that the restaurant is air conditioned, which is a good thing because Kaunakakai can get pretty hot in the summer. 15 Kaunakakai Pl, Kaunakakai. 808-553-3288.



Maka's Korner, a small take-out restaurant serving burgers, plate lunches, and local favorites, with several umbrella tables outside. Located in Kaunakakai, corner of Mohala & Alohi streets, 7am-6pm, Mon-Fri, 8am-3pm Sat, closed Sun. 808-553-8058.



Hula Bean Cafe & Catering, is a small sandwich restaurant open for lunch. Located in Kaunakakai, at 35 Mohala street, Ste #6. 808-553-5183.

My wife and I had lunch here and I have to say that is was not a pleasant experience. Considering that they are also a catering business, I expected a better lunch. I ordered a chef salad and my wife ordered a panini sandwich. We both ordered water because the prices were so high, $23.94 not including tip. The service was slow, the food was bad, and I had to ask twice for our water. We won't be going back.




Home Town Kitchen, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch you can enjoy a Rib Eye Steak $24.50, Kalbi Beef Short Ribs $13.50, Honey Dip Chicken $12.50, Chopped Steak $10.50, Hamburger Steak for $9.50, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich for $9.50, Pulled Pork Sandwich for $9.50, an all you can eat salad bar for $7.99, and several different burgers for around $7.00, French Fries are extra for $4.00, or you can get a Burger, Fries & Drink for $10.00. They are open Mon-Fri, 7 am-10 am for breakfast, 10 am-2 pm for lunch, and 5 pm- 9 pm for dinner, 10 am - 2 pm Sat & Sun. They are located across from Friendly Market at 93D Ala Malama Ave, Kaunakakai, 808-553-3858. Credit Cards are accepted. Right next door is a small grocery store, Home Town Groceries, owned by the same family. They sell bulk groceries as well as sandwiches.




Mrs. K's Concession has been on Moloka'i for a long time, serving home cooking. It's a small takeout restaurant with tables outside near American Savings Bank in the Moloka'i Center, Kaunakakai. 808-553-3201.




The Sundown Deli is not a deli in the true since but is actually a very small cafe with two tables. They serve freshly made-to-order sandwiches, soups, salads, and have weekly specials. One of my favorites is the Club Sandwich. Most of their business is take-out. They make box lunches, great to take to the beach. Prices are reasonable, and they accept Visa and Mastercard. Open Mon - Fri 10:30 am - 2:00 pm. 145 Puali St., Kaunakakai, across from the Veteran's Memorial Park. 808-553-3713.

Front Window
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Turkey Sandwich with everything!
Need I say more?

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The Store Housedespite the name, is more than a store house, it's a small family operated, take-out cafe/quick-stop market serving wonderful sandwiches, smoothies, package goods, etc. They are located right next door to The Sundown Deli at 145 Puali St., Kaunakakai, across from the Veteran's Memorial Park. 808-553-3399.




Big Daddy's Restaurant serves filipino food and their famous "Shave Ice". A very small lunch restaurant, with limited seating. 67 Ala Malama Street, Kaunakakai. 808-553-5841.



"Shave Ice"


Mana's Goodz n Grindz is the only small quick-stop market/breakfast and lunch counter on the east end of the island in an area called "Pukoo" near mile marker 16. The place serves omelets, Portuguese sausage, and other breakfast specials (brunch is very popular). They also serve a good burger and onion rings, local plate lunches, and I hear that they make a delicious mahi mahi sandwich. Personally I like their thick chocolate milk shakes. This is a great stop to pick-up lunch or snacks if you are on your way to the beach at the 20 mile marker, or traveling down to the east end. Kamehameha Highway, mile marker 16 on route 450, in Pukoo. Open 8:00 am-6:00 pm, Mon-Fri, 8:00 am- 5:00 pm, Sat & Sun. 808-558-8498.





Moloka'i Grocery Stores & Liquor Stores:

Moloka'i only has a few grocery stores, it also has a few small neighborhood markets, bulk food stores, a mini-mart, a liquor store, and a farmers market on Saturday morning. You can find pretty much whatever is on your list if you shop around. Prices do vary here however, many times you can find much better prices just by crossing the street.


Friendly Market Center is the largest grocery store on Moloka'i. Here you'll find all the basic groceries (meats, dairy, fresh produce, dried foods, boxed foods, snacks, sweets, etc.), as well as cosmetics and a good selection of liquor. It's called Friendly Market for a reason, the employees are very friendly and helpful, and I really think it's the social center of Moloka'i. Don't be in a hurry when you shop here, because locals often "talk story" while shopping with their carts parked in the middle of the narrow isles, which definitely adds to the Moloka'i shopping experience. Open Mon-Fri from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Closed Sunday. 90 Ala Malama Street, Kaunakakai, Hi. 553-5595.

Friendly Market
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Misaki's Grocery is our second largest full service grocery/liquor store, which is located just down the street from Friendly Market. Misaki's is family-operated and has been in business since 1922. Misaki's has served some of their loyal customers' great great grandparents. The General Manager is my friend Kevin Misaki, grandson of the original owners, Uta and Masataro Misaki. Kevin is on a mission to restore and improve the store, which is open Mon-Saturday from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, Sunday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Ala Malama Street, Kaunakakai, Hi. 553-5505.

Misaki's Grocery
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Misaki's produce section


Kualapu'u Market is located at the end of the rainbow in the town of Kualapu'u, right across the street from the Kualapu'u Cook House. Kualapu'u Market is a small neighborhood market, but is well stocked for its size. I often stop in after picking up my mail at the small post office next door. They are very friendly and have a good selection of fresh produce, baked goods and meat (I love their large frozen ham hocks and free-range chickens), as well as basic grocery items and liquor. My friends, the Yuen family own the store, as well as Moloka'i Wines and Spirits in Kanakakai. Many times you will find fresh local fish for sale, as well as sushi products like marinated octopus, squid, etc.. This market also has a good selection of movies for rent. They are located at 311 Farrington Highway at Uwao Street, in the plantation village of Kualapuu. Phone: 808-567-6243. Open Mon-Friday from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, closed Sunday.

Kualapu'u Market
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Moloka'i Minimart is located in the middle of Kaunakakai. Moloka'i Minimart may be small, but it is packed with products. They have a fine selection including food, alcohol (beer and hard liquor), plus deli items, including cheeses, cold cuts, and household products. They carry a lot of items from Costco that you can't get anywhere else on island. For example I order free-range chickens, cheeses, and deli meats. Just ask for the store owners Ikaika and Desi if you have any questions, or special orders. The store is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, Mon-Sun. Moloka'i Minimart is located at 35 Mohala Street, Suite C, Kaunakakai, Hi. For more information, call 553-4447.







C Pascua Store is a small local market located across the street from the much larger Friendly Market on the main street of Kaunakakai. Usually you will see locals sitting on the two benches in front watching the visitors go by. You can find only the basic grocery items here, milk, bread, soft drinks and chips, but they are open on Sunday, their niche. 109 Ala Malama Street., kaunakakai, Hi. 553-5443.

C Pascua Store
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Maunaloa General Store is the only small general store serving the west end of Moloka'i with basic grocery items such as meats, produce, snacks, beverages, dairy, frozen foods, etc. The building is very old plantation-style and is located across the street from the post office in Maunaloa. Open 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday - Saturday, 8:00 am to noon on Sunday. 200 Mauna Loa Highway, Maunaloa, Hi 552-2346.

Maunaloa General Store
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Moloka'i Wines & Spirits is not a restaurant or grocery store, but a liquor store and specialty food store. It is located on main street in Kaunakakai. Not only do they have the best wines and beers on the island, but they also carry par-baked crusty bread from the mainland, a variety of cheeses, olives, sausages, etc. They will also order whatever wine you are looking for, by the case, for big parties or weddings. Ask for my friend Crystal Yuen, Manager. Located at 77 Ala Malama St., Kaunakakai, 808-553-5009, open 7 days a week.

Moloka'i Wines & Spirits
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Hundreds of wines to choose from
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Moloka'i Farms That Sell To The Public:

Kumu Farms – You wouldn't know about it unless someone told you, because it is off the beaten path. I visit them at least once a week to buy fresh produce. Kumu Farms is the most diverse working farm on Moloka'i. They have been selling their organic products for almost 30 years, and is Molokai's source for fresh and healthy produce, gourmet farm products and selected nursery plants. The Farm is especially well known for its delicious GMO free strawberry-sunrise papayas. They are the Mainland's biggest supplier of this organic fruit, harvesting 20,000 pounds weekly. Kumu Farms is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They are located 5 minutes from the Moloka'i Airport. Heading west on Maunaloa Highway, continue 1 mile and turn left on Hua Ai Road. Kumu Farms is 1 mile down on the right. For more information call 808-351-3326.








Barking Deer Farm – A small family farm located near Mahana Gardens here on Moloka'i. They are dedicated to growing and selling a wide variety of organic vegetables to restaurants and to the public. Barking Deer Farm also has a variety of artisan products for sale, that are handcrafted in small batches to ensure the greatest quality. Contact owner Jamie Ronzello for current crops and products available. Phone: 808-658-9935 for more information.


Moloka'i Farmer's Market is located at 40 Ala Malama Street, in Kaunakakai, right in front of our two banks, American Savings Bank and Bank of Hawaii, which have ATM's if you need extra cash. It is only open on Saturday mornings from about 8am to around noon. It is a small market compared to many other cities, but if you're like me, you will enjoy seeing all of the different local produce like mango, fresh coconut, passion fruit (lilikoi in Hawaii), tomatoes, onions, Kabacha squash, long beans, you just never know what will be there. The market also has quite a few vendors that sell jewelry, t-shirts, pottery, spices, jellies and jams, freshly baked bread, plants, on and on. It's a lot of fun.

Moloka'i Farmer's Market
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My wife Kimberly, on the right, has a booth at our Saturday Farmer's Market in front of the Molokai Family Health Center and directly across the street from the Molokai Public Library.

Kimberly selecting fabric in Oahu
for her products.
My wife's company, Creations by Kimberly, specializes in custom pillow cases, placemats, aprons, tote bags, etc., all in beautiful tropical fabrics. Kimberly's products are not only sold at Farmer's Market here on Moloka'i, but in retail outlets on most of Hawaii's islands, including the Blue Monkey here on Moloka'i, however you can buy them from her in person at the Moloka'i Farmer's Market. To see her products on her website, click here. You can also buy my cookbooks and greeting cards from her, at a discount.

Kimberly also sells fresh avocados from our small orchard in up-country Kalae during avocado season in late July, August, and early September, for $1.50 each, or 3 for $4.00... how can you beat that price? "The best avocados on island", according to our loyal customers. It's best to get there early (8:30 a.m.) before the avocados are all gone. Also ask her about our local Tahitian limes, available almost all year.

For my Guacamole recipe, click here.


Buttery Avocados from my small orchard
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Juicy Tahitian Limes

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