Kealoha’s Taste of the Islands, 12206 Central Ave. (at the 60), Chino
Formerly part of the Honolulu Harry’s chain, this restaurant made a seamless transition in 2012 to become Kealoha’s, owned by a Harry’s manager (who’s a native of Hawaii) and featuring a similar Hawaiian menu and decor.
It’s a rare Inland Valley theme restaurant, from the palm trees in the parking lot to the bamboo-heavy interior. It hearkens back to the Polynesian-tiki era, only without the statues. (The location began as a Cask ‘n Cleaver and later was a Crabby Bob’s before becoming Honolulu Harry’s.) I had a good dinner there a few years back when it was Harry’s but hadn’t been back since it became Kealoha’s. To rectify that, a friend and I met there for lunch earlier this week.
The interior looked about the same to me, slightly kitschy but not over the top. We got items off the lunch menu: kalua pork for me, loco moco for him ($10 each). Mine (pictured below) was pulled pork with shredded cabbage and rice; his (pictured at bottom) was a beef patty with fried eggs, rice, gravy and onion straws. Each came with a side of macaroni salad. He liked his; mine was average. My portion seemed a little small and I wish in retrospect I’d had an appetizer because I left slightly hungry.
Kealoha’s has a bar, called the Mai Tai Lounge, and they have special nights. Fridays and Saturdays they have live Hawaiian music, and sometimes, Feb. 17 is the next, they have $45-a-head luau nights with a buffet and live entertainment. Cheaper than a plane ticket.
So, Kealoha’s didn’t wow me, but I’m glad it’s there and hope it thrives.