One of the best things about living on an island is the opportunity to be part of a tight community of people who look out for each other. Especially when something like Covid-19 and a state lockdown means there are literally zero people around who aren’t part of “us” and the idea of “we’re all in this together” becomes much more obvious and personal.
On the northwest part of the Big Island, three food businesses have changed how they operate and have gone above and beyond the simple “take out and delivery only” model.
Sushi Rock in Hawi
Peter Pomeranze is the inspiration and brains behind the wildly popular Sushi restaurant in the tiny town of Hawi on the very northern tip of the island. I have recommended this place to every single one of my clients and visiting friends since it opened. Although the sushi itself is above and beyond (check out their yelp reviews), Peter has always offered many tasty options to non-fish eaters, such as lasagne, sandwiches and salads made with fresh, local, organic ingredients. While Sushi Rock is still open daily from 3-7pm for pickup and offers daily specials, Peter is also going above and beyond to serve his community. First, Sushi Rock offers fresh Ahi and Mahi Mahi by the pound. It’s fresh, local and delicious. Call 889-5900 to order.
Secondly, Peter has organized a weekly food drive for North Kohala residents in need. Food donations accepted from 2-4:30 pm, and bags of groceries are offered for free at 4:30 pm every Wednesday. There is also a GoFundMe set up if you are unable to contribute food and still want to assist in the effort to keep North Kohala fed. As Peter reminds people in his weekly Facebook posts, there is NO SHAME in picking up a bag a free food, so if you are in need, please stop by Sushi Rock on Wednesday afternoons.
Huge mahalos to Peter for his service and commitment to our island community.
Ippys Hawaiian BBQ in Waimea
You might be familiar with Ippy Aiona from his previous restaurant, The 3 Fat Pigs at the Waikoloa Beach Resort King’s Shops, or from Ippys Hawaiian BBQ food counter at the Queen’s Marketplace Food Court, or maybe from his stint as a Food Network Star contestant. Regardless of where you found Ippy, once you’ve done so, local food will never be the same. Located in Waimea across from the Police Department, Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ was open for just one year when the stay at home order was given in Hawaii. While of course Ippy is offering take-out, he and his team have done something extraordinary by offering “No Contact” $65 bags of groceries for pick-up. He has also created both a YouTube channel and recipes on the restaurant’s Facebook page for additional cooking instruction and ideas. Like, Angel hair pasta Pomodoro with Mahi.
Here’s what was included in the “No Contact Grocery Bag” from Ippy’s last weekend.
- 4 pieces of mahi mahi
- 6 pieces of chicken thighs
- 2 lbs of ground beef
- 15 eggs
- 1lb capellini pasta
- 3 tomatoes
- 6 red potatoes
- 2 heads Romaine
- 1/2 head of cabbage
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 oz peeled garlic cloves
- Macnut white chocolate chip cookie dough
The first thing we made? The cookies, of course. They were AMAZING. Don’t want to cook? Watch for their fully cooked family packs coming soon! If you’re interested in take-out or ordering a No Contact Grocery Bag, please call: 808-987-9986
Big Mahalos, Ippy – can’t wait to see what you offer next!
Puako General Store now under new ownership from Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures (yes, you can buy dive/snorkel gear in the store!) has breathed some new life into a 30+ year old Kohala Coast institution by fully utilizing the commercial kitchen and cranking out some incredible meals for pick up! Denise, the new owner, is a classically trained chef from California’s wine country so the food being cooked is beyond ono. From (my favorite) Spicy Clam Dip, to Black Truffle Oil Deviled Eggs, Chinese 5 Spice Roast Chicken halves, Vegan Red Thai Curry with Kabocha Pumpkin, Baked Ziti, home made Gnocchi, teriyaki chicken, Brined Roast Chicken with Mole, and Liliko’i Coconut Tapioca, Denise and her team have been saving the Puako and surrounding communities from the drudgery of our own cooking during Stay at Home orders. They also offer sandwiches made to order, 8″ personal pizzas & other grab & go items. Specials change daily, so call 882-7500 or drop in to see what they’re cooking today – and don’t forget masks are now required to enter the store.
Mahalos to Denise (and a special shout out to my favorite Big Island cook, Wendy Jones who works with Denise in the kitchen) for becoming such an important part of our island community in a short period of time. Living in Puako has always been special, now it is somewhere none of us really need to ever leave.