Liko Lehua Expands to Pauahi Location
“Comfortable, casual, and good food,” Matt Kleinfelder explains. “We want it to be homey.” Along with his wife, Dawn Kanealii-Kleinfelder, and with help from their ‘ohana, they have opened a new restaurant, Liko Leuha at Pauahi (their other restaurant, Liko Lehua Kaumana, is located at 177 Kaumana Drive).
The new restaurant is well-situated near County and State government buildings, banks, and retail stores, and not far from the soccer fields and park in the former “Palms By the Bay” bar and restaurant.
The family has put a lot of work into brightening up the old Palms space, and their efforts really paid off. “My wife is a huge fan of Pinterest, as you can tell,” laughed Kleinfelder. True, I recognized some Pinterest favorites (re-purposed wood, Mason jar glasses) but it isn’t over the top. It has a warm, “country” feel, which is very relaxing. The Kleinfelders have also, wisely, kept enough room around tables and at booths so that even when the restaurant is busy, it doesn’t feel crowded.
Besides running restaurants, the family also sells their delicious, hand-poured jars of butters: Lilikoi, Guava, and Mango, to name a few, for $8. They are attractively displayed at the hostess station (and are also available via their website).
A beautiful bar sits at one end of the restaurant. A conference room, the “Pauahi Room,” for groups needing private meetings, is available for booking. There is also an “’Ohana Room,” where children are welcome to watch television or do homework.
They have done a great job of developing a menu that has something for vegetarians as well as carnivores. On the vegetarian side, choices included Mediterranean Pasta ($14.95), Eggplant Polenta ($15.95), and a Portabella Mushroom Sandwich ($13.25), as well as five different salads ($12.95 – $14.25).
Fans of meat and chicken will love a variety of burgers (five to choose from): Meatball Marinara ($14.95), Grilled Boneless BBQ Pork ($15.95), Chicken Risotto ($16.95) and a 16-ounce Grilled Rib Eye Steak ($26.75). There are several sandwiches to choose from, ranging from $10.25 – $13.25.
Pescatarians were not left out. The menu includes Crab Cakes ($13.50), Fish and Chips ($12.50), Garlic Shrimp Pasta ($13.95), and various salads.
We sampled the Fish and Chips ($12.50). Mahi is the fish used, and it is coated in panko crumbs. It came with French fries and a green salad. It was deliciously crispy and fresh. I would also wholeheartedly recommend the Cajun Chicken Pasta ($15.50), which contained fresh vegetables and a side of garlic bread. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the cream sauce had just a touch of spiciness to it. The portion was large – enough for two to share, plus leftovers the next day! Our friends loved the Grilled Boneless BBQ Pork ($15.95), which comes with mac and cheese and hush puppies, a fun touch.
Desserts range from Root Beer Floats ($5.50) to Cheesecake with Liliko’i Butter ($5.50), Apple Crisp with Hawaiian Vanilla Butter, and Vanilla ice cream ($8.25), plus several others.
Liko Lehua at Pauahi is located at 80 Pauahi Street, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720. Phone: (808) 315-8484. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Parking lot is located in front of the restaurant. Casual; very family-friendly.