Cupcakes, Instant Noodles and Nitro Coffee at the Hukilau Honolulu Restaurant

Let Them Eat Cupcakes owners have taken over management of the restaurant in Executive Centre, bringing its baked goods and a new plan for the eatery.
Let Them Eat Cupcakes owners have taken over the Hukilau Honolulu Restaurant in Executive Centre—just steps from our HONOLULU Magazine offices—and they brought their signature cupcakes. This is going to be dangerous!
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox


There were perks to moving our HONOLULU Magazine offices to the basement of Executive Centre in August.


First off, for those of us who catch the bus to work, the bus stop is now a block closer. We’re right across the street from a plethora of eating places on Fort Street Mall and Union Mall. And we don’t have to wait for an elevator to get to our offices.


But, at least in my opinion, the best perk of our move has happened very recently.


At the beginning of October, a group led by Kawehi Haug, co-founder of Let Them Eat Cupcakes and regular contributor to this blog and our magazine, quietly took over the management of Hukilau Honolulu Restaurant, just outside our office. Though she and her team—which includes Haug’s parents, Kim Potter and Sheldon Lo—haven’t yet fully revamped the restaurant and menu, she did open a second location for her bake shop just off the entrance. It’s called Let Them Eat Cupcakes Express, and she’s selling grab-and-go breakfast items—pastries, cinnamon rolls, breakfast sandwiches—along with her signature cupcakes, cookies and marshmallows.


The express counter is located just outside the restaurant’s entrance. And yes, it serves Nitro Coffee.


In addition to cupcakes, the express counter serves grab-and-go breakfast items including muffins and breakfast sandwiches.


“We were approached by the former owners of the Hukilau to open a little bakery counter in the restaurant to sort of bring some new life into the place,” Haug says. “We had good synergy with them, and it was low risk for us as business owners who had recently lost a big investment, both financially and timewise, and so we were stoked for the opportunity to start something new again.”


That financial loss was the closure of Bethel Street Tap Room in January. Haug had run that restaurant from 2014 until its sudden closure two years later. She’s still tangled up in a legal battle between the primary leaseholder of the space and the landlord.


SEE ALSO: An Inside Look at the Closing of Three Promising Honolulu Restaurants


Right now, she’s still baking at the Beretania Street location and transporting everything to Executive Centre in the morning. Both locations will have exclusive offers: The express counter will serve more breakfast items; the Beretania Street bake shop will offer caketails (cocktail-inspired cupcakes) and Grandonas (an addictive combination of a malassada and croissant). Both locations will serve Nitro Coffee.


Soon, she’ll be rolling out something called a Chicken in a Biscuit, a cheese biscuit with Portuguese sausage, green onions and a whole egg baked into the center. She recently unveiled a Cup Noodle ($7), her take on instant noodles in a mason jar, and a protein pack ($6), with a ham and egg cup, bacon, house-made yogurt and veggie sticks.


SEE ALSO: Cupcakes and the Return of Bethel Street Tap Room—Sort Of


The instant noodles come in a mason jar with Spam, kamaboko and a shoyu-based broth. You just add hot water and shake.


Further changes to the restaurant will happen slowly, with plans for a grand opening in another couple of months.


“We don’t have the time or budget to shut everything down and do a big remodel, so we’re taking it one project at a time,” Haug says. “It’s the quintessential work in progress.”


While Hukilau won’t be a replica of Bethel Street Tap Room, the team plans to offer some of the most popular items on the menu, including the pickles and a few of the cocktails.


“This new endeavor will be much more of what we’ve always wanted to do, which is to draw from our deep, local roots to create a space that is both very local and very ambient,” Haug says. “We want it to be the best of our favorite local dive bars like Side Street Inn and Home Bar, combined with a really cool sort of classy and grown-up ambiance. Think Side Street meets Lewers Lounge.”


We can’t wait!


1088 Bishop St., lower lobby,