We discovered unique shops at the top of Kalakaua Avenue.
1 CZ brio (formerly A Furniture World Outlet)
Don’t let the petite storefront fool you. “People think the store is small, and when they walk in, they’re like, ‘Wow!’” says Mari-Bel Cicogna, who, with her husband, Al, sells modern furniture in the two-story, 14,000-square-foot warehouse. “Nothing we sell is in other stores,” says Al, who visits shows and factories to discover new pieces. Find the easy-to-miss stairs to the second floor, where the rich smell of Italian leather is almost intoxicating. 1673 Kalakaua Ave., 941-3595, www.czbrio.com.
2 Glen’s Collectibles
Seven years ago, this store was opened in response to a hobby that had gotten out of hand. “My nephews would say, ‘Uncle, I can’t get my clothes out of the closet because of all your toys!’” says owner Glen Dymally. Browse his floor-to-ceiling stash of everything from Barbies to Pez dispensers. Keep an eye out for original Redline Hot Wheels from the ’60s. You might want to hurry. “A guy next door bought the place and I might have to move, but I’m sure they’ll find me,” Dymally says, gesturing to the collectors who like to hang out in his shop. 1641 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 22, 951-9979.
3 Kalakaua Plate Lunch
The most popular item here is the barbecued chicken plate lunch, a tasty meal that includes rice and macaroni salad. With 24 types of plate lunches, plus mixed plates and specials like garlic shrimp, there is bound to be something that appeals to you. Servings are large, and almost everything is under $6. Seating is extremely limited, so call ahead for takeout. 1665 Kalakaua Ave., 947-6448.
4 Bag’s End Pawn II
For 20 years, this family-owned and operated pawn shop has been selling surfboards, televisions, power tools and more. The building used to be an arcade, and you can now score some amazing deals, especially on jewelry (the bulk of its business). “People buy wedding rings here all the time,” says Patrick, the son of owner Thu Brechler. “Is there such a thing as a used diamond? You can go to a jewelry store and buy a one-carat diamond, or you can come here and buy a two-carat one for the same price.” 1676 Kalakaua Ave., 949-5115.
5 CC Fashions
Last year, Mike Yamaki moved into a “smelly, dark furniture store” and renovated it into a bright and airy shop that sells hundreds of muumuu to hula halau around the world, including customers in France, England and Japan. His wife, for whom the store is named, has been designing the dresses for 13 years. Besides the hula apparel, you can also find boutique dresses, jewelry and wedding gowns. Check out their popular velvet dresses. “They’re really beautiful; you actually have to see someone wear one to understand,” Yamaki says. 1621 Kalakaua Ave., 946-6777, www.ccfashions.com.
On March 17, 1900, the Territory of Hawaii experienced its first traffic accident on the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and South King Street. At the time, there were only four cars in Honolulu.