Brunch Your Face Off at BrunchFest on March 25

Café Kaila, which celebrates 10 years, is one of several restaurants participating in the brunch event at Salt at Our Kaka’ako.
Café Kaila, which celebrates 10 years this year, will be serving kālua pork belgian waffle sliders at brunchfest, presented by american savings bank, on March 25 at salt at our Kaka‘ako.
Photo: courtesy of Café Kaila


It’s hard to talk about Honolulu’s breakfast scene and not mention Café Kaila.


The little café, which won gold in the first-ever Best Breakfast category in the Hale ‘Aina Awards nine years ago and has been one of the top winners every year since, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It will also be one of six restaurants participating in our magazine’s BrunchFest, presented by American Savings Bank, on March 25 at Salt at Our Kaka‘ako. (See below for details.)


SEE ALSO: 2018 Hale ‘Aina Award Winners: The Best Restaurants in Hawai‘i


Owner Chrissie Kaila Castillo, who started the café working 18-hour days, is still at the restaurant, making sure everything, from the pancakes to the potatoes, are just so. She still makes the batters, sauces, soups, dressing, gravy, marinara and baked goods from scratch daily. Some of her most popular dishes—buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles, French toast, egg Benedicts—have been on the menu since the beginning.


“Kaila is here every day and she puts her heart into every plate of food,” says Wayne Kato, marketing manager. “That effort from her and from our staff helps keep us on top.”


The most recent additions to the Café Kaila lineup have been a hand-breaded buttermilk chicken and waffles—a dish customers kept requesting—and an afternoon comfort-food menu with artisan pizzas, meatloaf, kālua pork sliders and chicken pot pie.


What Café Kaila is serving at BrunchFest is a combo of dishes from both menus: open-face kālua pork Belgian waffle sliders served with a guava barbecue sauce and a maple-butter drizzle. The dish is exclusive to the event, which brings together seven of the island’s most popular brunch spots at a casual brunch-around with sweet and savory dishes, bloody marys and mimosas, live music and lawn games at Salt at Our Kaka‘ako.


Here’s what else you can stuff in your face at the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.:


  • Scratch Kitchen & Meatery: Elvis 2.0 French toast with Hawaiian sweet bread, candied bacon, caramelized bananas, bacon caramel and peanut butter dust
  • Koko Head Café: Breakfast ramen with Bulletproof (meaning there’s butter in there) shoyu tare, bacon, a poached egg, maple shiitake mushrooms and cornflake crunch
  • MW Restaurant: Bananas Foster malassada bread pudding with butter mochi ice cream
  • Herringbone Waikīkī: Ray Ray Pancakes
  • 7-Eleven Hawaiʻi: Bibimbap Boost Bowl and ube manapua, both vegetarian


The Breakfast Ramen, which will be served by Koko Head Café at BrunchFest on March 25.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Castillo plans on doing something special for customers—not sure what yet—and throwing a party for her staff to celebrate the café’s 10 years.


“Kaila started just wanting to cook the best breakfast she could and make people happy with her food,” Kato says. “We are fortunate that we have had 10 years of happy faces and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.”


BrunchFest, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Salt at Our Kaka‘ako. Parking is $4 at Salt. Ages 21 and over only. Buy tickets here.