Grab a Healthy Bite With Your Next Beer

Puka’s Bar debuts at Whole Foods Kāhala.
Photos: Brie Thalmann

 

When you think of bars, “healthy” is not a term that usually comes to mind. Whole Foods Kāhala, though, hopes to change that with the opening of Puka’s bar. Yes, Puka’s offers typical bar cuisine—wings, pizzas, burgers, etc.—but the vegan and vegetarian options that are also on the menu may change the way you view bar food. Puka’s offerings follow the same standards as other Whole Foods products, which means no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sweeteners. The foods are also free of partially hydrogenated fats and oils.

 

Herbivores can now enjoy a kale Caesar salad or a Maui taro Mediterranean burger, paired with one of more than 20 beers on tap. Our favorite dish, however, was created for the meat eaters of the world. Made with bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato, the Kāhala BLT is topped with Cajun aioli that adds just the right amount of spice to distinguish the sandwich from your average BLT. We also enjoyed the soft pretzels from Uncle’s Cutting Block, which includes prosciutto crudo, finocchiona dried salami with fennel, house-made pickles, beer mustard and spiced nuts. Light and buttery, the pretzels make a great little appetizer.

 

One menu item we’re not crazy about is the vegan dessert option: chocolate avocado mousse. With a consistency that’s much more like a pudding than a mousse, the avocado taste is overpowering and its overall flavor is almost earthy. Not very sweet, it's a treat that's probably best left to a vegan palate.

 

 

Of course, when you’re in a bar, it would be a shame to ignore the drinks—and at Puka’s, the offerings are plentiful. In addition to the 20-plus beers on tap, bargoers can also choose from a handful of bottled beers, wines by the glass and a charming selection of nonalcoholic beverages, including Italian-style sodas made with OnoPops’ locally made syrups. We loved the Kona Orange Ono Mocktail, made with OnoPops’ orange syrup. Cool and refreshing, it tastes like a light, fresh orange soda.

 

Though we think the seating at Puka’s will end up being problematic (for the time being, management has decided to keep the restaurant seating available to all Whole Foods customers, including those who purchase food from inside the store itself), we’re excited for the daily specials, which will begin on May 25. Offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, they will include wine discounts as well as beer/food pairings. Happy hour also happens daily, 4 to 7 p.m.

 

Puka’s at Whole Foods Market Kāhala, 4211 Waiʻalae Ave., #2000, 798-9072, open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.