Waiāhole Poi Factory Is Expanding to Windward Mall

Fresh poi, beef lū‘au and Sweet Lady of Waiāhole are coming to the mall food court in October.


Waiahole Poi Factory Front Food Credit Thomas Obungen

Waiāhole Poi Factory. Photos: Thomas Obungen


The news broke Monday via an Instagram story. Waiāhole Poi Factory, the famous and famously rustic Hawaiian restaurant on Kamehameha Highway, put out a call for kitchen staff for a second location opening in Kāne‘ohe. We immediately DM’d owner Keliko Hoe, who confirmed the teaser: Pending permit approvals, the first expansion for the historic eatery will open in Windward Mall’s Pā‘ina Food Court by mid-October.


“We’re planning to have pretty much the same menu,” Hoe messaged. “And of course, gotta have the Sweet Lady of Waiāhole.”


If all goes according to plan, getting our hands on the factory’s signature dessert of warm kūlolo and haupia ice cream, plus its beef lū‘au, lau lau and kalua pig will be a little more convenient for most of us. Just the thought that it’ll be just off the H3 or a shorter drive from the Pali is exciting.


Dusendschon Waiahole Poi Factory

Waiāhole Poi Factory by Robert Dusendschon, originals and prints of iconic O‘ahu scenes.


Waiāhole Poi Factory’s origins date back to the early 1900s when it processed kalo from the surrounding ahupua‘a. Then after 1971, Charlene and Calvin Hoe ran the factory as an art gallery and incubator for Native Hawaiian artisans during the Hawaiian Renaissance. After a kitchen renovation in the early 80s, it became a culinary incubator and hub for the Waiāhole community. In 2009, it returned to its kalo processing roots and began selling hand-pounded poi with a menu of traditional Hawaiian food you’re likely to find at a lū‘au.


SEE ALSO: Best Bites: Waiāhole Poi Factory Has Been a Pillar of the Windward Community for Decades


In 2022, the business won $25,000 in Kamehameha Schools’ Mahi‘ai Match-Up agricultural business plan contest. That came with a chance to open in KS’ Kapālama Kai development, hinting at a possible third location (which is still unconfirmed). Waiāhole Poi Factory also won a HONOLULU Magazine Hale ‘Aina bronze award for Best Hawaiian food in 2023.


“We are thrilled to announce the anticipated addition of Waiāhole Poi Factory at Windward Mall,” said Gary Evora, Kamehameha Schools commercial real estate senior asset manager. “As winners of the Kamehameha Schools Mahi‘ai Match-Up competition, they exemplify our commitment to Hawai‘i’s food systems. Our mission extends beyond economic benefits; it’s about nurturing both bodies and minds, ensuring educational success and vibrant communities.”


Stay tuned for more details closer to Waiāhole Poi Factory’s opening at Windward Mall.