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Three Perfect Days in Kailua

Kailua’s unique local businesses, scenic beauty, soft-sand beaches and friendly faces make it a place where residents and visitors alike can experience some of the most perfect days on Oahu.


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Little Sprouts

photos: david croxford

Sharing the same family-oriented philosophy, Melanie Decker Koehl, owner of Little Sprouts children’s boutique, offers fun and organic fashions for newborns to 6-year-olds. The eco-chic kids boutique, the only one of its kind on Oahu, offers eco-friendly accessories, recycled plastic toys and organic graphic T-shirts, with cute local sayings like “Future Paddler,” designed by Decker Koehl herself. “As a mom, I’m really proud of our organic clothing lines. It’s nice to know that these are practical items that are not only cute, but safe for your baby and good for the environment,” says Decker Koehl.

Take a mid-week break from cooking dinner and head over to Bob’s Pizzeria to treat yourself to a generous slice of a Boston-style pizza pie. The oversized pies—topped with fresh ingredients and homemade sauce—have lured weekly, and often daily, regulars to the pizzeria. “The ingredients we grew up with that grew in our grandmother’s gardens, that’s what we put on pizzas,” says Robert “Bob” Festa. Originally from Boston, Bob appreciates the small-town neighborhood feel of Kailua. The inner walls of Bob’s pizza shop are covered in handmade thank-you cards from past patrons—school children he’s performed magic shows for and participated in educational activities with, hungry tourists and the everyday Kailua resident, grateful for the pizza’s consistent taste and Bob’s fun-loving attitude.

One storefront over, Bob’s sister, Donna Festa, is getting ready to open the doors to her own shop—Lanikai General Store. Opening on May 1st, Donna’s mom-and-pop shop will be that go-to place to grab a morning coffee and a fresh pastry before school or work. “In so many ways, I didn’t realize just how special of a place Hawaii was, until I started living here,” explains Donna. Working on and off for her brother for the past 13 years, Donna has seen the loyalty of his customers and wanted to provide a convenient one-stop-shop service to the community.  Along with food, beverages and other conveniences, Donna wants to offer Kailuans old-time services at her corner store, such as a notary. As creator of the non-profit organization Hawaiian Monk Seal Response Team Oahu, Donna has been key in rescuing marine animals and documenting Hawaiian Monk Seal populations. Part of Lanikai General Store will be dedicated to educating tourists and residents about the endangered species.

Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen

The Perfect Weekend

Every weekend in Kailua should begin and end at the beach—a morning swim out to Flat Island and an after-dinner stroll along naupaka-lined sand. Between those moments are endless possibilities to explore and enjoy Kailua town’s coastal culture through its various specialty stores, boutiques and homegrown eateries.

After an early-morning paddle or jog along Kailua Beach, there’s no better way to start your Saturday or Sunday than with a hearty breakfast. Rick and Jesse Kiakona, brothers and owners of Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen have been serving up traditional breakfast favorites with a Hawaiian-style twist for 18 years. Their new location, at the corner of Hekili and Hahani Streets, beckons locals and visitors who will gladly wait in line for their famous fare. A plate of the renowned Macadamia nut pancakes smothered in secret Mac-nut sauce, or a rolled-egg omelet with a side of their signature Portuguese sausage makes the morning wait worthwhile. “Quality and consistency is really important to us, and our goal every day is to get it right and make our customers happy,” says Rick.


Kailuans will line up for another stack of pancakes, as well, at Cinnamon’s Restaurant—another bustling weekend spot that’s well worth the wait. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere and killer pancakes, this favorite local eatery has been perfecting and reinventing breakfast classics, like eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes, for 28 years. Guava chiffon and Red Velvet pancakes, and crab-cake eggs benedict are some of Cinnamon’s new breakfast classics. “Kailua town has evolved from a little, laidback beach town into a very dynamic place, which has been exciting to see,” says owner Norman “Puna” Nam. “I am so thankful for our wonderful employees, who have been with us throughout the years. We have such great customers too, and we’re very blessed to be able to keep doing what we love—serving great food here in our hometown.”


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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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