With COVID-19 cases rising throughout many of the Islands and counties going into varying states of lockdown, it’s helpful for Hawaii residents to have a lot of options to help make staying at home a little more fun (and bearable). These small Hawaii businesses offer easy ways for locals to enjoy their wares safely. While Hawaii’s businesses and workers are still reeling from the economic impacts of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for shoppers to make their purchases locally so that all of Hawaii’s small businesses can stay alive. Shopping local will help keep doors open, keep staff employed, and customers will be happy that they can enjoy a meal or a locally-created product while supporting their neighbors.

Oahu Only

Nalu Health Bar & Cafe: healthy, delicious, guiltless food

With three Oahu locations, Nalu Health Bar makes it easy to eat healthy on the go with their fresh meals that include wraps, sandwiches, smoothies, and more. Their signature dish, an authentic Brazilian açaí bowl, is packed full of healthy fruits that contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. Maintaining one’s health is especially important right now, and many of the dishes at Nalu are extremely nutritious. On top of that, getting their healthy food in the hands of customers is really easy: they offer online ordering with options that include both curbside pickup and delivery for all three of their locations (KailuaSouth Shore, and Haleiwa).

About: The original Kailua location of Nalu Health Bar opened in 2015 when four friends from South America began to envision a restaurant where they could enjoy the healthy foods that they loved when they finished surfing. The restaurant, which serves fresh sandwiches, salads, wraps, and authentic Brazilian açaí, sources its fresh produce from local vendors when possible and always sources its fresh fish from local fishermen. Since opening the original Kailua location, the restaurant has expanded to include a location at the South Shore Market and a new location in Haleiwa that opened May 2020.

Maui Tacos Oahu: great deals and filling meals 

Feeding a family (or just a really hungry individual) is easy when customers order from Maui Tacos Oahu. The two Oahu locations (Kailua and Pearl Highlands) are under new ownership, and they’ve brought a new attitude and focus on freshness with them, paying special attention to their revitalized fresh fish taco. The full menu is available for take-out, including their Surf Burritos, Bowls, and California Corner items. These dishes are a great way for customers to create their own delicious meal with a variety of ingredients that bring both the Maui and the Mex to the meal. Both locations are happy to serve customers through online ordering for curbside pick-up and delivery. In addition to the great deals and affordably priced meals, they also offer a military discount.

About: In December 2019 Mason and Kelly Cummings purchased the Maui Tacos franchise locations in Kailua and Pearl City on Oahu. With a goal to reinvigorate the menu with more fresh, local ingredients, the Oahu locations are bringing the ‘Maui-Mex’ feeling back to the forefront of the Maui Tacos dining experience. From their signature fish tacos to their pineapple salsa, Maui Tacos Oahu brings both the “hola” and the “aloha” to its guests.

State-Wide

Ko’olau Distillery: whiskey and chocolate

For a fun night in, try some of Ko’olau Distillery’s recipes for its locally-produced Old Pali Road Whiskey (see attached) or make up your own! OPR is a light, easy-drinking whiskey with notes of caramel and corn, making it a very versatile option for mixed drinks or for just sipping neat or on the rocks. Pair the whiskey with Ko’olau’s newest collaboration, a chocolate bar with their Kailua neighbors, Manoa Chocolates, for an even more memorable experience. Old Pali Road’s bright bottles can be found on the shelves of many local retailers throughout the state, just look for the one with the Hawaiian Islands on top. For true fans of Old Pali Road, Costco at Iwilei now carries a 1 liter size of the bottle — grab one on your next toilet paper run!

About: Ko‘olau Distillery is the longtime dream and vision of close friends and U.S. Marine Corps veterans LtCol Eric Dill and LtCol Ian Brooks, who teamed up to produce Old Pali Road Whiskey. Located in the foothills of the legendary Ko‘olau Mountains, the distillery blends the naturally volcanic-rock-filtered, alkaline water with the finest ingredients to produce pure whiskey, one bottle at a time. It’s been rated one of the Top 15 Best Crafted Whiskey’s Under $60 by VinePair.

Mochi Foods Hawaii: mochi mixes for fun treats

Mochi Foods Hawaii offers mixes for a variety of delicious foods that have an added element of fun to them. The special rice flour used to create these mixes gives the donuts, waffles, malasadas, and more a special chewy texture that makes every bite even more delicious. The mixes are easy to make and are great for creating some fun family time in the kitchen. Mochi mixes can be found at a variety of retailers across the state or ordered online and shipped to your door. Those ordering online should also check out Mochi Foods’ other products like their popping boba, natural food powders, and gau (Chinese pudding).
About: Mochi Foods Hawaii offers a variety of products to make tasty treats that are delicious any time of the day. Mochi Foods’ award-winning premixes help both home chefs and professional chefs create their own unique takes on mochi donuts, waffles, breads, pancakes, and bubble waffles that all have a unique mochi taste and chewy texture. Mochi Foods Hawaii is a woman-owned business that reflects the owner’s passion for East meets West treats. Her experience owning bakeries and confectionaries helped her create these fun, flavorful products that uphold high standards of authenticity and quality. Online ordering is available at mochifoods.com.