Workers prepare the Hawaiian Style Cafet on Thursday at the Manono St. Marketplace on Thursday afternoon.
By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Seven area businesses are preparing to set up shop at Hilo’s newest shopping center, Manono St. Marketplace.
Among them are four separate eateries, including Hilo mainstay Miyo’s Restaurant, which will be leaving its current home at Waiakea Village, and popular Waimea restaurant Hawaiian Style Cafe, which will be launching a second location in Hilo.
Other businesses that are already on board include Lani’s Island Snack Shack, Natural Beauty Spa & Massage, Hilina‘i Bookkeeping and Payroll Services, Takenoko Sushi, and Native Hawaiian Gear.
In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for property owner GHC Family Limited Partnership wrote that the shopping center, located across Hinano Street from Big Island Candies and next door to Atebara Potato Chip Factory, would cater to homegrown local merchants.
The two-acre piece of land features four main buildings with more than 20,000 square feet of dining and retail shopping space, as well as more than 100 parking spaces and entry and exit from both Manono and Hinano streets.
GHC’s spokeswoman would not discuss the ownership of the property on the record, but a search of the state Business Registration Division’s website reveals that GHC is a limited partnership of the George Kazuo and Adela Takako Hara Revocable Trusts. The Hara family operates T. Hara & Co., which is a successful Hilo-based wholesaler of groceries.
On Thursday morning, Guy and Gina Kao‘o were overseeing the construction work being done on their restaurant, Hawaiian Style Cafe, which faces Manono Street. The pair said they were excited to be launching a second location after seven years in Waimea.
“We’re hoping to be ready by the first of October,” Guy Kao‘o said. “Of course, that’s predicated upon us getting all of our equipment. We’ve ordered a lot of stuff from the mainland.”
Hawaiian Style has earned a strong reputation for its breakfast food, the couple said, which includes “monster sized” pancakes loaded with local flavors like haupia and banana-mac nut. Online business rating service Yelp gives the eatery 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 224 user reviews, something the Kao‘os say they are very proud of.
“We make local-style food with a lot of aloha,” Gina Kao‘o said.
Guy Kao‘o added that the pair decided to locate their next restaurant in Hilo after receiving requests from plenty of Hilo residents.
“They said they were driving all the way up to Waimea just to come see us, and that’s what made us decide to come here,” he said.
As for the Manono St. Marketplace, the pair said they were thrilled with the size of their unit, which is more than twice the size of their restaurant in Waimea.
“It’s in a great location, with a lot of traffic coming by, and the fact that there’s ample parking was huge,” Gina Kao‘o said.
Miyo Harumi, the proprietor of the eponymous Miyo’s, has been operating her Japanese restaurant in Waiakea Village for 25 years, but she, too, said she is eager to complete her move to Manono Street.
The aging building where her restaurant currently resides has provided her guests with some pretty terrific scenery of Waiakea Pond over the years, she agreed, but it’s also stirred up more than a few headaches, both for Harumi and her customers.
“We’ve had to deal with so much with the building,” she said Thursday afternoon. “And the stairs, that is a big problem. Many of my customers, they started coming to eat at my restaurant when I first started, and some of them were 60 or 65 at the time. Now they’re 80 or 85, and they can’t get up the stairs.”
Then there was the six months or so where she had to improvise after her landlord became embroiled in a billing dispute and power to the entire commercial area at Waiakea was shut down.
“A lot of people think we are leaving because of that,” Harumi said. “But it’s not everything. That building was just so old. And I needed change.”
Harumi said she plans to have some outdoor seating along the front and side of the building, and to one end she will feature a little noodle and Ramen shop. She’s also excited about installing bathrooms inside her unit — something her restaurant in Waiakea Village lacks.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be really nice,” she said of the plans for the new Miyo’s.
Email Colin M. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.