Highway 19 on Hawaii, the Big Island, snakes north from Kona toward the high-end resorts of the Kohala coast, before taking a turn inland toward Waimea, the hilltop town where Hawaiian Style Café serves up some the best Hawaiian food on the island. Tourists staying all along that coast make the journey, standing in line with the locals who crowd the horseshoe-shaped counter, the booths in the front room, and the tables in the back, to eat monster-sized portions of breakfast foods that invoke the power of Spam, rice, mac salad, and all other holy Hawaiian foods.
Churning out gluttonous portions at a pace to keep up with the hordes of hungry patrons is what Hawaiian Style Café is known for, but it's more than terrific short-order cooking that earned its fame. Sure, the smoked-pork omelet could be on any menu, but here the pork is smoked in-house. The restaurant does its best to work in locally-sourced beef, lamb, and whatever else they can, while still keeping dirt-cheap prices.
The strip mall storefront opens at 7 a.m. and closes, depending on the day, between noon and 1:30 p.m. In that time, piles of pancakes, multitudes of three-egg omelets, and who knows how many scoops of mac salad (they make theirs with tuna and peas) will pass over the high counter.
It's the dream of any voracious traveler to stop for a roadside bite and find a place like Hawaiian Style Cafe, which turns out behemoth portions of authentic local cuisine. This is how it's become such a destination for so many visitors to the island Hawaii. Perhaps you'll even be planning your trip after clicking through the slideshow.
Hawaiian Style Cafe
65-1290 Kawaihae Road, Waimea HI 96743 (map)
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food writer and marketer. Find more of her musings on her food blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. You can also follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome.