After falling in love with Wahiawa upon his first visit, master coffee-brewer Mike Richards quickly plotted a way to join the community’s eclectic crowd on a more permanent basis. The fruition of this aim, Perk-A-Lot Coffee & Sandwich Shop, marries Wahiawa’s uplifting spirit with a low-key ambiance and delicious coffeehouse fare. Since opening its doors in 2011, this up-and-coming spot has evolved into a cherished hangout for locals and coffee connoisseurs on pilgrimages from nearby islands.Mike and his friendly staff of baristas prepare café beverages behind simple wooden counters, pairing iced or steaming drinks with handmade wraps and sandwiches. When they aren’t sitting down to enjoy pastries such as lemon scones and fudge brownies, visitors can walk across the café’s checkerboard floor to view the local art that adorns the walls. On Friday nights, local poets and musicians stage performances for crowds, who signal their approval by snapping and pelting the stage with packets of sugar.
Universe Juice Café harnesses solar energy to blend and squeeze organic fruit into refreshing drinks that complement a menu of fresh, healthy fare. The Mantra smoothie mixes together berries, bananas, papayas, and positive thoughts ($6.75), and the Malo Man swaggers out of the blender with banana, ginger, pa'i 'ai, and noni ($6.50), and refuses to ask directions to the nearest glass. Signature poke bowls layer spicy or shoyu-style Hawaiian ahi over rice ($8) and kale ($10.50), as savory naan flatbread paninis embrace vegetable and turkey fillings ($8.50+). Universe Juice Café's warm-colored walls and intimate café seating abut a wood-topped juice bar, creating a cozy atmosphere for dining, drinking, and blending in time to live music showcases.
VG Addict fulfills dragon-slaying and Formula 1–driving fantasies with a virtual treasure trove of new and used video games, DVDs, and accessories. Customers can stop by the retail store to bask in a glorious assortment of classics and new releases for systems from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to Nintendo Wii and handheld consoles. Gamers are encouraged to test-drive games before they buy, ensuring games are in working order and haven't been exposed to damage by previous owners.
Aloha Crepes serves dessert all day. Of course, it's in the form of a crepe, so the light treat seems somehow appropriate for breakfast, even if you order the Aloha crepe—loaded with Nutella, a sauce of sour cream and brown sugar, strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. For something more savory, crepes can be stuffed with portobello mushrooms or grilled chicken or made into pizza-like envelopes that, with the correct postage, the US Postal Service will deliver. For a lighter dessert option, Aloha Snowflakes promise a treat that's part ice cream, part shaved ice with the consistency of frozen cotton candy. Snow ice comes in a variety of flavors made from fresh fruits, juices, and extracts with added milk.
Since 1995, Samurai Inc has been dreaming up island-themed treats from Kona-coffee-flavored Hawaiian Frosts to red and white li hing mui. Their popcorn flavors include a Moana sweet-and-salty blend that pays homage to Hawaiian beaches with two colors: teal blue to represent the salty waters and yellow to represent sweet sand. They also sell popcorn by the bulk for events and giants who like to watch movies. At their shop, people line up to order freshly twirled soft-serve from the window.
La Tour Cafe beckons diners with a menu of light cuisine, homemade soups, and freshly ground, locally roasted coffee. Turkey and sundried-tomato paninis come slathered with provolone or the baked-chicken pesto, spinach, and swiss cheese, and then leave the kitchen with a golden tan ($8.50). All sandwiches grace tables with their presence alongside a house salad, house-made pickles, and a variety of legal eating utensils. After 10:30 a.m., flatbreads such as the margherita strut down the dining-room runway flaunting the fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato ($10), and the kalua pork seduces tongues with lomi tomatoes, taco sauce, and sour cream ($12).