Food and Friends at Tropics Tap House Kona
Tropics Tap House in Keauhou Shopping Center is a popular watering hole for Kona locals and visitors. Offering tasty comfort food with a gourmet twist and a healthy assortment of beers on tap, it’s easy to see why their parking lot is full at pau hana time.
Executive Chef Ryan Ashihara is proud of the fact his restaurant uses locally sourced and sustainable products from Hawaiʻi Island.
“We’re our own locally grown kind of restaurant,” said Ashihara. “I like being a chef here because we use locally grown products—from the produce, fish, beef and whatever other sustainable items we can access from the island. We want to help our local farmers and fisherman as much as we can. What we have available depends upon the season and we use local products whenever possible.”
Ashihara graduated from the West Hawaii Culinary program in Kealakekua in 2003 and worked in various restaurants during that time. He also worked at KTA where he supervised and managed their kitchen.
“Working at KTA helped my career a lot because it is similar to a farm to table type of restaurant,” he said. “We did a lot of local community events and used mostly local products,” said Ashihara. “It really helped hone my skills and increase my knowledge about the different products available on the island.”
“I love food and I love fishing so I try to keep as much local fish on the menu as possible,” he said. “We also prepare Big Island beef and shrimp. If we can purchase our products locally, we can also help keep the jobs local as well.”
Tropics Tap House is also a popular spot for football fans. During the NFL season, all the games are airing and food specials are plentiful.
“We play all the games, and offer different specials for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour items,” said Ashihara. “We also have a lot of beer on tap and we promote local beers like Kona Brew and beers from the different islands like O‘ahu and Maui. We try to keep it as local as we can and promote all the islands. Tropics is a fun, friendly place for people to come enjoy themselves and have a meal with their family and friends.”
One of the favorite menu items is the Loaded Mac N Cheese, smothered in a house-made four cheese sauce and tossed with crispy bacon bits, mushrooms and scallions. It pairs well with the Hibachi Shrimp Skewers—spicy blackened shrimp caramelized with a sweet chili-sesame reduction sauce.
Calamari fans will love the Furikake Calamari Strips—a furikake panko crusted calamari with kabayaki and citrus chipotle aioli. For health food fans, try the Tropics Salad with local mixed greens tossed with papaya seed dressing, candied walnuts, bleu cheese and fresh fruits.
Tropics Tap House is open 11 a.m. to midnight daily. A special late night dinner and pūpū menu is available Thursday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight.
For more information, visit tropicstaphousekona.com.