My tour of Kuahiwi Ranch with Al Galimba concluded at Hana Hou, a canary yellow restaurant in Na’alehu – about 12 miles from the southernmost point in the U.S. The name means “one more,” as in encore, which was a little bit self-congratulatory, but ultimately, somewhat understandable.
Drake and Patty Fujimoto’s place features a mural of the bay and aqua chairs indoors, an airy porch out front, and specials on a dry erase board. Al Galimba said he used to train horses down the street and would spend half his check at Hana Hou when it was still a rough bar. Times clearly have changed.
The menu offered a bunch of Hawaiian plate lunch classics, including loco moco, roast pork and local fish filet, but it somehow made sense to go with the oddball “healthy choice.” My pick was mildly sweet Stuffed Payaya ($9) with macadamia nut curry chicken salad, shaved red onion and tangy lilikoi (passion fruit) dressing. Somehow, the combination worked.
They filled a case near the entrance with a panoply of pies, none made in-house but all made nearby. My choice was Macadamia Nut Cream Pie ($4.75), with a sweet, pecan pie-like base, custardy center and whipped cream topping.
Lilikoi lemonade ($3.50) was tinged with tangy passion fruit. Better yet, it came in a bottomless glass.
Hana Hou was basically a tropical diner that covered a lot of familiar ground, but still applied enough touches to make the experience interesting, and yes, worth an encore.