Field Guide: Harding Ave.

Small, funky and independent describe the businesses that line this Kaimuki street.

Masako Kinoshita, Norma Kageura and Masaji Honda craft the morning away.




Elders Elite

Founded by Ruth Giffard, a certified occupational-therapy assistant, and Lisa Ikeda, a licensed social worker, Elders Elite is an activities center where senior citizens can get together and make new friends. “We have them exercising, doing motor games, like bowling or basketball, and artwork,” says Giffard. “Our goal is to keep them busy and keep them moving when they’re here.” About seven to 12 seniors attend the center Monday through Friday, though the company can accommodate up to 20 individuals. 3569 Harding Ave. Unit A, 732-1003,



Kaimuki Grill

The décor at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant isn’t fancy—think neon beer signs, mismatched tables and chairs, and a bar that appears to have been stolen from somebody’s basement—and neither is the food. But that’s OK, because Kaimuki Grill, which devoted diners have dubbed the “Little Side Street,” serves up delicious, heaping portions of unpretentious local dishes, such as garlic chicken, fried rice and teriyaki short ribs. While those are ono, what we crave are the famous kalua pig nachos—a gigantic pile of fried won ton chips covered in kalua pig, lomi salmon and Starr’s Special Sauce, a yummy, mayo-based concoction. 1108 12th Ave., 732-2292,


Bess Press

Bess Press, an independent, family-owned publishing company, has been putting out tomes about the cultures, peoples and traditions of Hawaii and the Pacific for 30-plus years. Among its roster of more than 200 titles are The Food Lover’s Guide to Honolulu, by Joan Namkoong, Pidgin to Da Max, by Douglas Simonson and Iz: Voice of the People, by Rick Carroll. Window shoppers are free to drop by and pick up the company’s newest releases or stock up on old favorites. As it happens, we’re featuring art from Simonson in our cover story this month. 3565 Harding Ave., 734-7159,


Did You Know?

Harding Avenue was constructed during President Warren Harding’s administration and was named after him.



Costume Rentals by Kharolina

At Kharolina’s shop, you’ll likely come face to face with a mad hatter, Marilyn Monroe or the devil himself. These are just a few of the thousands of costumes crammed into the two-room shop, alongside masks, hats, wigs, sunglasses, shoes and just about anything else you may need to assemble a costume. Many of the masks, including the sequined Mardi Gras styles and furry animal disguises, are handmade. “I never stopped playing dress-up,” says Kharolina. “My mom was in Vaudeville so I grew up in costume land.” By appointment only year-round; daily in October. 1059 12th Ave. Suites D and G, 732-3423,


Illustration: iStock

Movie Museum

This movie theater is a haven for anyone who balks at the sky-high prices and circuslike atmosphere of modern multiplex theaters. The Movie Museum screens mostly independent and foreign films, with an occasional blockbuster thrown in for good measure. One or two films are shown each day, with several show times available, and general-admission tickets are a budget-friendly $5. But our favorite feature is the theater’s oversize, leather recliner seats, which you can reserve ahead of time. Outside food and drinks are welcome as long as noise is minimal. 3566 Harding Ave., Suite 4, 735-8771.