Finding Beretania

The people, businesses, landmarks, history and food that make this street such an integral part of Honolulu’s cityscape.


(page 5 of 6)

Champion Malasada-maker Joc Miw, with his wife, Sandra.

photo: Sergio Goes

Champion Malasadas

“We always keep the fryer hot,” says Champion Malasadas owner Joc Miw. Anytime during the day or night (from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.) you can get a freshly fried and sugared, hot, delicious malassada. “It only takes five minutes to cook,” Miw says. At that speed, Champion turns out about 200 dozen malassadas (at HONOLULU, we favor the Portuguese spelling) each day. While its basic malassadas bring in 60 percent of the business, customers snap up the custard- or chocolate-filled malassadas as well. Champion is closed on Mondays. 1926 S. Beretania St., 947-8778.

photo by David Croxford

Hawaiian Rent-All

For nearly 40 years, the regularly changing wisecracks on Hawaiian Rent-All’s storefront sign have been a fixture in Honolulu. Owner Paul Gibfried took over creating those catchy phrases when he purchased the business from the original owners in 2003. Though it may be the sign that grabs your attention, cruise around the shop, which offers more than 1,000 rentals, from mango pickers to 100-cup coffee pots to construction machinery. So before you buy that mini excavator you’ve been eyeing, consider renting it for $250 a day instead. 1946 S. Beretania St., 949-3961,

photo BY David Croxf


Casablanca’s selection of wedding gowns and services earned the bridal boutique a Best of HONOLULU nod in 2005. In July, Gladys Agsalud moved her 14-year-old business from Mapunapuna to its new Beretania Street address. Designing the new location from scratch allowed Agsalud to create areas to stage bridal photos, such as the Mediterranean-style rooftop and interior spiral staircase. To further cater to brides-to-be, Casablanca plans to host trunk shows and fashion shows, introducing new and exclusive lines from Agsalud’s trips to the Mainland and abroad. The best part about moving to town? “We’re five minutes from everywhere,” she says. 2058 S. Beretania St., 941-4696.

photo BY David Croxford

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii started as a 1986 project by the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. Then, in 2002, it was almost shuttered due to $9 million of debt. A storm of fundraising ensued; within two months, supporters had raised the money to pay off the debt. Today, the Japanese Cultural Center is the epicenter of Japanese culture in Honolulu. It hosts various events for the Japanese community, ranging from art exhibits to martial arts training in its dojo. Check out “Okage Sama De,” a permanent art exhibit detailing the history of Japanese Americans. 2454 S. Beretania St., 945-7633.

WATCH OUT! Keep an eye out at the intersection of Beretania and Alakea: Between 2002 and 2004, it was the scene of 42 major traffic accidents—more than any other spot on Oahu.

photo BY David Croxford

The Hiroshima-Honolulu Torii

In 2001, Honolulu’s sister city, Hiroshima, sent it a scale replica of the torii gate at Miyajima. Made of stainless steel and titanium, and half the size of the original, it symbolizes friendship between the two cities. In the Shinto religion, a torii is the entry to sacred grounds. Since the gate stands at the juncture of South Beretania and South King streets—it’s anyone’s guess as to which one of the streets is the sacred one.

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