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Exploring Kapolei


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Originally dubbed the “Second City,” Kapolei has grown steadily over the past decade. Residents and townies alike have witnessed the construction of a new highway offramp, as well as sprouting neighborhoods and even a Target and Costco. Makakilo, Campbell Industrial Park, Ko Olina and Kalaeloa—or Barbers Point, as many still call it—carry the 96707 Kapolei zip code. We discovered 27 reasons to head out west.

Photo: David Croxford

En Fuego Grill & Poke

While its name is Spanish  for “on fire,” En Fuego Grill & Poke’s cuisine is definitely local: garlic chicken, grilled poke, short ribs and beer-battered fish are among the eatery’s most popular items. “We sell a lot of fish and chips, garlic ahi and pork chops,” says owner Ross Okuhara, who opened En Fuego in 2003. For baby’s first birthday or graduation parties, the restaurant also caters, with à la carte pans of everything from kālua pig to mahimahi. 590 Farrington Highway, Suite 534, 674-8805, enfuegogrill.com.

Photo: David Croxford

Tokyo Noodle Shop

» Diners at Tokyo Noodle House  don’t seem to mind the restaurant’s no-frills ambience. The tables at this small eatery are almost always packed with customers slurping down seafood ramen, digging into shrimp-fried rice or biting into pork-fried noodles. Perhaps the best deal on the already budget-friendly menu (almost everything costs less than $8) is the not-so-mini mini ramen set, which comes with a steaming bowl of ramen, a side of rice and four meat-and-vegetable gyoza for about $7. 590 Farrington Highway, Suite 510, 692-9888.

Photo: Elyse Butler and Matt Mallams


Kazoku Sushi

“We wanted to offer a more traditional, sit-down sushi experience, with conveyor-belt pricing,” says owner Melody Chin. “Customers can have the variety right in front of them, plus it’s fast.” On a recent visit, the place was hopping, as customers helped themselves to dozens of plates circling the double-looped conveyor belt—cold tofu, gyoza, edamame, chicken teriyaki and specialty sushi rolls were among the day’s selections. The combination bento, which comes with two choices of entrées, salad, rice and miso soup for $15, was the lunch of choice for several of our fellow diners. 338 Kamokila Blvd., Suite 102, 674-8844.



Why I Love Kapolei

Maeda Timson

Chair, Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board

Its Uniqueness
“There is no place in Hawaii where a city was built with the community involved. Yeah, we have growing pains, but that comes with building a new city. There’s a lot of jobs, there’s a lot of opportunities. Our future is so bright in Kapolei, I wear sunglasses every day!”

The Neighborhood Board
“The neighborhood board gets to see projects before they happen and is able to comment.” Those comments, she explains, can help solidify or make the developer think twice about project plans.

The Latest Project
Kroc Center: “It’s a huge community center: activities from swimming, daycare, seniors activities, cultural events. It’s an opportunity physically, culturally and spiritually.

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Honolulu Magazine October 2018
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