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Lunch on coffee tour?

Boston...
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Lunch on coffee tour?

We arrive into Kona airport around 11:30 and are then planning to go to some coffee plantations before heading north to the Mauna Lani for a few days. Any suggestions for where to get a relatively quick, fun, first meal in Hawaii? Is there anywhere to eat on Rte.190, or should we go into town? I always love dining with a view of the ocean, BTW! Thank you!

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Washington DC...
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1. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

If you start driving south avoiding town there are little places all along the road once past Keauhou. Never ate at any of them but look at thevrecentbthread on Mom & Pop places for ideas. Greenwell's does a nice tour and has good coffees to taste. It is a longish drive but perhaps you are trying to burn off time before some condo checkin?

Going into town hits congestion but there are oceanview eateries.

Really depends on what you like. If you want to use this time as coffee time, then just get to the coffee areas south of Keahou and skip town. You can drive thru on the way back if you want but traffic north gets slow thru traffic lights thereabits aound 3 pm.

Another alternative is to go have lunch a bit north in Four Seasons and walk along the shore there, or just go to Mauna Lani and eat at the beach bar.

Bellingham...
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2. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

Are you coming directly from Boston to the Big Island? That's a long haul, with a significant time change. Driving to & from South Kona, through Kailua, the afternoon you arrive could be a tiring start to your journey. And after all, you don't have that long at the Mauna Lani. There's a lot to be said for going directly to the Kohala coast and enjoying a leisurely lunch with ocean view ~ relaxing in to island time.

If you really want to get to coffee plantations on that first day, I'd just head that way and play it by ear as far as food is concerned. Maybe you're famished and want lunch asap. In that case, I'd go into Kailua and go to a spot where you can look at the ocean with sand underfoot. I only spent an afternoon in Kailua, but I liked seeing Alii Drive and sipping an umbrella drink at Huggo's on the Rocks. I didn't eat there, and the food doesn't get rave reviews, but I think coming from Boston to the Big Island, you'd like the locale & atmosphere ~ again, if you choose to stop in town.

If you don't stop in Kailua, there are various restaurants as you head south. (Btw, you'll be on Hwy 19, which becomes Hwy 11. Hwy 190 is the "Saddle Road".) If you go far enough, you can eat at the Coffee Shack, which people here mention a lot. It's perched high up and consequently has a great ocean view. A favorite for many, but keep in mind that service is notoriously slow.

~ Colleen

Edited: 24 February 2017, 17:47
Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

Hwy 190 is not the Saddle Road, although the turnoff to the Saddle is off of 190. 190 is Mamalahoa Hwy, locally known as "the upper highway" from Waimea to Kailua-Kona. It can be the route to stay above town en route to South Kona, if one takes 180 to Holualoa.

It's not the safest route, and it gets more than its share of serious accidents, in fact it was closed yesterday for another one. Not the best for a fatigued driver new to the island.

It doesn't make sense to me to head south from KOA upon landing, not when staying in Mauna Lani. You shouldn't tour either town or points south with your stuff in your car. Personally I would stop at the Beach Tree if wanting to eat immediately, or get up to Mauna Lani and eat at Napua or the hotel beach bar, as Honu Ohana suggested.

There's a coffee place by Foodland Farms, Kimo Beans, if you need coffee.

California
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4. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

If you're heading to coffee country, a favorite of many people (including me) is Annie's in Kealakekua. http://www.anniesislandfreshburgers.com/

Bellingham...
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5. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

My bad & thanks for the clarification, KK. Of course, you turn *off* Hwy 190 on to the Saddle Road.

While that Historic Kona Corridor route (180), is breathtakingly beautiful, I agree that it wouldn't be a good choice for the OP (and I don't think she was considering it). Doesn't really make sense coming from KOA anyway if the goal is to get a quick lunch and hit coffee plantations.

~ Colleen

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

Well, you can head mauka from the airport and it is a more scenic route, but it's also a narrow highway with blind rises and sections with no shoulder. The main issue is that locals use it as a speed route and some drive recklessly on it. There's no place to evade a collision in the part without shoulder, if someone makes an unsafe pass and there's a car coming at you. Locals tend to dog slower cars on that road. It's a very pretty drive if you take the stupid drivers out of the mix.

Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

I agree it makes no sense to drive to South Kona on arrival when staying at the Mauna Lani. First off, you'll have all your luggage in the car, and the Koma districts are not where you want to be with that. It will also be the hottest, muggiest, and often voggiest time of day which is not pleasant for walking around coffee farms. Secondly, you'll hit a lot of traffic driving back through the Kona districts in the afternoon trying to get back to the Mauna Lani. I would head straight to the Mauna Lani. Often you can check in early but if not you can drop your bags and walk around the beautiful, peaceful grounds, check out the cultural center, have a really nice lunch at Napua on the beach, maybe take a beach bag and get in the water. Alternatively the Beach Tree and the Hualalai grounds as KK mentions are near the airport, luggage safe, and absolutely beautiful.

You can easily do South Kona as a day trip later in the week from the Mauna Lani, getting an earlier start and without a car full of luggage.

Edited: 24 February 2017, 21:15
Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

Exactly.

Just as a note on Kona coffee, I have found but not tried the Pink Mocha Cafe:

https:/…pink-mocha-cafe-kailua-kona

It's not quite five miles south of the airport, at the top of the area where Costco is, the Kaloko light industrial area aka the "new industrial center." Kona Brewing Company location is the "old" industrial area. It's not a bad drive at all from KOA, as you don't get to the heavier traffic area.

Obviously it is not a coffee farm experience.

Boston...
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9. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

which road are you referring to here?

Boston...
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10. Re: Lunch on coffee tour?

Thank you. I am a bit confused by some of these responses. so let me clarify. I was thinking (from looking at a map and reading an article on coffee plantations) of leaving the airport and driving on Hina lani St or Kaiminani Drive to Mamalahoa Highway and heading south to hit one or 2 plantations, such as Ueshima Coffee or Holualoa Kona Coffee Co. They don't seem that far south to me and then heading back to Mauna Lani. I know see that there are a few more north of Ueshima as well. The idea is not for a cup of coffee but to learn about the Kona coffee and the plantations where it is grown.I see the point of just heading up to Mauna Lani and enjoying lunch and relaxing up there....but since we just have the following full day there, I thought this might be a way to see a couple of plantations. We are only staying at the Mauna Lani 2 nights, as we are not really resort people. But with all the good reviews from many of you, we decided to stay there and do some of the local hikes that are there and take advantage of what it has to offer. The third day we check out and will drive the northern route to Hilo.

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