Every time we go to The Big Island, the original Hawaiian Style Café in Waimea is on our itinerary. Not eating at this institution is a non-starter for my husband. There’s always a line. We always wait our turn for a couple of seats at a table or the counter.
The owner is local boy (not an insult, BTW) Guy Kaoo who grew up the Big Island. For a time, he lived in Los Angeles but returned some 25 years ago, working at the enormous and posh Hilton Waikoloa, eventually rising to catering manager. He spent seven years designing menus and recipes to serve up to 1,000 or more guests. In 2005, Guy answered the siren call of the Big Island when he had an opportunity to purchase the café. He has maintained the heavily local menu, reflecting the food of his childhood. He and his wife Gina continue to feed Hawaiian and visitors with incredible portions of local comfort food.
In December 2012 they opened their second location, in Hilo on the island’s east coast. And Guy and Jo’s Hawaiian Style Café debuted on the 10th floor of a downtown Tokyo highrise — described by observers there as “chic,” a word that would never apply to either of The Big Island locations.
The original café is at 65-1290 Kawaihae Road, Waimea/Kamuela; 808-885-4295.
Whenever we visit the Big Island of Hawaii, we try to get to The Coffee Shack, perched high above Kealakekua Bay and right along Highway 11, south of Kailua. Their coffee is terrific. The view from the lanai fabulous. And the ambiance laid-back Hawaiian.
Much to our surprise, a small sign next to the door indicated that the café is for sale. We only bought a some juice, a scone to share, a couple of Benedicts and wonderful coffee (mine a cappuccino) that miraculously held their heat to the end,
Le French Café Boulder opened quietly in The Village shopping center just a few weeks ago. Agnes and Quentin Garrigou, who had run two French cafes in Miami for about a decade, decamped for Colorado just ahead of Hurricane Irma’s devastating arrival in Florida. Quentin hails from the Loire region, while Agnes is from the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area and was eager to return to the mountains where their seven-year-old son could enjoy a childhood something like hers.
The couple sank all the money from the Miami cafes into the Boulder location, so are relying on word of mouth (and word from fingertips on keyboards) to get the word out. I’m happy to help, since it is the first French bakery in Boulder since Le Francais in the BaseMar Shopping Center closed years ago.
Le French Café is in what might be considered Boulder’s bakery intersection. It occupies a corner that features two other bakeries — Woodgrain for Montreal bagels and Great Harvest for whole-grain items. They are all different. My husband and I went there this morning and it was an altogether pleasant experience. The space is bright and cheerful. The service is attentive. And most of all, the breakfast items are very good. I’m a gluten fan myself but I am very impressed that there is no surcharge for gluten-free crepes.
The Village Shopping Center 2525 Arapahoe Avenue Boulder; 303-284-2265.
Meadow Mountain Café in Allenspark fills up with regulars — and newbies like us.
I can hardly believe that I knew nothing about the Meadow Mountain Café on the business loop of the Peak to Peak Highway. The hamlet of Allenspark’s summer homes and rental cabins draw Texans, Oklahomans, Kansans and other flatlanders, and the café also attracts regulars from Longmont, Lyons and Berthoud. Locals said they come up a few times a year. Judging from the social media comments, it seems that breakfast or lunch at the Meadow Mountain Café is one of the things that draws these vacationers to town.
Walk up a few steps with buttons embedded in the mortar between the stones, pass a forest of birdhouses to a porch that I’m sure is delightful when it’s a tad warmer than it was yesterday morning. Enter the funky, rustic café with about a handful of tables and friendly, efficient service. There was a butt on every chair when we walked in, but happily, one party vacated a right-size table for our party of five. Sharing a table with others is actually OK too.
Peruse the laminated menu. It lists the items — nothing exotic, but everything served in generous portions on random heavy-duty plates. The coffee comes in random heavy-duty mugs. I didn’t ask for cappuccino!
Price check: Eggs, $7.50-$8.95; 4-egg omelets, $8.95-$10.95 (2-egg versions also available); Pancakes, French Toast & Waffles, $4.25-$9.50 (1, 2 or 3 pancakes per order); sides, 75¢-$3.50.
Denver-born breakfast restaurant group gets New York investor.
A decade ago, when Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood was beginning to take off, brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel established Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. In fact, it was born April 2, 2006, and became an instand hit, sparking a movement toward creative, breakfast-oriented restaurants. It became known for its “atomic age’ mid-20th-century décor, energetic atmosphere and friendly service — and of course, it’s great breakfast items.
There are now 17 Snoozes in Arizona, Texas and California as well as Colorado. The capital and managerial infusion comes from York’s Stripes Group. The big name, food industry-wise, is David Swinghamer, former CEO of Shake Shack. He and two other Stripes Group partners are said to be joining Snooze’s board of directors. Will this corporatize Snooze? Will there still be lines spilling onto the sidewalk? Will it loose its Ballpark soul?
Five things I like about Mountain Home Café in Estes Park’s Upper Stanley Village café: 1) It was not too noisy; 2) The food was scratch-made; 3) service was attentive; 4) breakfast dishes are available any time the café is open; 5) it appears to be a generous business, supporting local and health causes.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.