Your O‘ahu Neighborhood Guide: 1600 Kalākaua Avenue in Honolulu
Field Guide tells the stories of people and businesses along Honolulu’s streets. This month: colorful fabrics, a mean sandwich and a mini Statue of Liberty.
When people mention Kalākaua Avenue, it’s easy to assume they mean Waikīkī. But across the Ala Wai Canal, from Beretania Street to Kapi‘olani Boulevard, the avenue takes on a completely different personality. Six reasons to cross the canal:
1 Try three types of Asian cuisine: Korean barbecue at Frog House (1604 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 951-9370), where the banchan (side dishes) are better than most and the gigantic bibimbap ($9) arrives in an oversized serving bowl; intimate Japanese Do-ne (1614 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 626-5782) with bento sets for lunch (around $12) and dinner (around $16); and the newly opened Joy Cup Noodles Mean (1608 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 725-2898), offering Hawai‘i’s “only authentic” spicy Chongqing Sichuan noodles, handmade and served with pork belly or beef tongue for $9 to $14.
2 Past Kanunu Street, Fabric Mart (1631 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 947-4466), which has been around for more than 25 years, overflows with fabric, from fine silks to polyblends, available by the yard (or the entire roll, if you’re ambitious).
Fabric Mart has been around for more than 25 years.
3 Tucked away on the second floor of the next building is Glen’s Collectibles (1641 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 951-9979), a tiny treasure trove brimming with action figures and Hot Wheels that feels like your geeky friend’s secret storage stash: “I had nephews that couldn’t get their clothes from the closet because of all my toys! That’s when I decided to open a shop,” says owner Glen Dymally.
Glen’s Collectibles is a tiny treasure trove brimming with action figures and Hot Wheels.
4 Spacious Korean hotspot Choon Chun Chicken BBQ (1649 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 447-1492), sells beer and barbecue chicken every day from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Amina Pizzeria specializes in French bread pizza, pasta and calzones.
5 Across the street are Apex MotorSports (1684 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 945-9400) and Moped Garage (1694 Kalākaua Ave., #106, (808) 591-9999), with bikes to rent, buy or fix up, literally spilling out onto the sidewalk. (The unofficial mascot is adorable Yuki, a French bulldog who lounges outside and sometimes catches moped rides.) At Amina Pizzeria (1694 Kalākaua Ave., #105, (808) 949-3548), owner and chef Amina Chau specializes in French bread pizza, pasta and calzones (the meatball sub is amazing and just $8.95). Equally good sandwiches are available at Machete’s Mean Sandwiches (1694 Kalākaua Ave., #104, (808) 922-2467); owner Evan Glenn spent six months teaching himself how to make his own perfect square bread. “I made every mistake along the way,” Glenn says. “But baking sandwich bread allows me to add honey and ingredients to the loaf you can’t find elsewhere.”
The R&C Tours building is Hawai‘i’s very own Statue of Liberty.
6 Outside the R&C Tours building (1722 Kalākaua Ave.) is Hawai‘i’s very own Statue of Liberty, built in 1992 by Long Island-based Colbar Art company, the self-proclaimed largest manufacturer of Liberty statues in the world. According to Tory Laitila, registrar at the Honolulu Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, there’s another Liberty in storage that used to be put on display in Kapi‘olani Park every 4th of July.