Just the 2 of Us Serves Up Southern Cuisine

August 30, 2019, 11:15 AM HST (Updated September 8, 2020, 10:51 AM)


    Well bless your heart and butter my biscuit! The latest eatery in Kona is as southern as sweet tea. Their food warms the heart and soothes the soul. Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine opened the doors to their new brick and mortar location and comfort food lovers couldn’t be happier.

    Mary Tarrance was born and raised in Louisiana and her husband, LaJuan, hails from Detroit. When LaJuan accepted a job offer in Kona, the couple moved to Hawai‘i and started their new life.

    The Tarrances never owned or operated a restaurant before moving to Hawai‘i. However, Mary would cook and feed the local football and basketball teams. The kids they fed encouraged them to open their own restaurant, but they could never find the time.

    Eventually, Mary went online and started researching how to start a business in Kona. In 2016, the couple started with a food tent at Dixon’s 76 Station. A year later, they opened a food truck out at Old Kona Airport Park. Today, they are running their own restaurant in Aliʻi Plaza off Hualalai Road.


    When LaJuan gets off work from his management job at Terminix, he helps Mary in the restaurant. Their son, Dovonte, also works for the business. A sense of family and home fills the room.

    The atmosphere is warm and friendly. Everything smells delicious. Currently, their best-selling dish is the Small Paradise, which boasts four pieces of southern fried chicken, mac and cheese, and a side of regular or red velvet waffles. The brisket sandwich is delicious. It’s topped with pickles, onions and barbecue sauce, and served with coleslaw and potato salad. Homemade desserts include warm peach cobbler and banana pudding topped with a vanilla wafer.

    Other menu items include fried catfish, collard greens, red beans and rice and cornbread, to name a few. On Saturdays they serve another southern classic—fried green tomatoes.

    “I just want folks to come in and try some good home cooking,” said Mary. “They’re going to leave full and happy. It’s a bit of a wait because our food is cooked to order. Our food isn’t just sitting around, so bring your patience and your aloha. We are happy in here and it shows in our food.”

    For more information, check out their Facebook page.

    Banana Pudding at Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine. PC: Karen Rose

    Brisket sandwich at Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine. PC: Karen Rose

    Chicken and Waffles at Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine. PC: Karen Rose

    Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine. PC: Karen Rose

    Mary Tarrance and son Devonte at Just the 2 of Us Southern Cuisine. PC: Karen Rose

    Karen Rose
    Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.


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