Kakaako 2020

The past, present and future

Article by Maria Kanai

Photography by Andy Arakaki

Kakaako is a rapidly changing and uniquely urban neighborhood, and it’s exciting to see how the past decade has shaped the landscape of this community.

As both Kamehameha Schools and Howard Hughes bring new developments to this area, here’s a shoutout to businesses that have paved the way for future entrepreneurs. And, let’s take a look at the ones that are currently making waves and a quick preview of new ventures that are on their way.


+ Kakaako Kitchen

Chef Russell Siu made Kakaako Kitchen – and Kakaako itself – famous by adding his own twists and infusing global flavors to familiar dishes like the sweet chili chicken and blackened ahi wraps. With plenty of outdoor seating and convenient location near Ward Theatres, it was a great spot to stop by for a quick bite after a movie. Open for more than 20 years, Kakaako Kitchen closed in February 2020. Thankfully, its delicious catering options are still available. You can contact them at (808) 596-7488 or kakaakokitchen@gmail.com.

+ Kakaako Fitness

A no-frills, family-owned gym with weights, cardio machines and personal trainers, Kakaako Fitness was a favorite for people who wanted to get healthier without the corporate gym atmosphere. Compared to other gyms around town, Kakaako Fitness was on the smaller side but folks were fans of the friendly ‘ohana feel and fantastic service.

+ Kakaako Agora

A community gathering hub dedicated to arts and culture, Kakaako Agora used to be an empty warehouse before transforming into a self-proclaimed “indoor park.” Available for weddings, conferences, shows and expos, Kakaako Agora was a popular hang-out spot for locals in the neighborhood. We hope to see more spaces like this in Kakaako.


+ Morning Brew Kakaako

Want to grab an espresso during your neighborhood art stroll? Morning Brew hits the spot. Serving freshly-roasted Hawaiian coffee beans, sandwiches and breakfasts, this café and shop is colorful, bright and inviting. Here, you can enjoy vegan breakfast and lunches on a simple but well-put together menu.

+ H Mart Kakaako

H-Mart is a one-stop shop with produce, meat, seafood and unique Asian odds and ends, with groceries and housewares. There’s also a food court with many Korean food stalls serving ethnic dishes like bbq chicken, meat jun and much more.

+ Kakaako Pet Hospital

Located on Queen Street, Kakaako Pet Hospital offers medical, imaging, surgical and dental services for pets. It is a privately owned veterinary hospital with ample parking and known for its high quality level of service. The hospital also offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, boarding and grooming services and emergency medical services.


+ Ulana Ward Village

Ulana Ward Village is one of two new towers planned by the Howard Hughes Corporation. The high-rise condominium will have 697 homes on the block and will be bordered by Auahi, Kamani and Pohukaina streets. The space will include a 40,000 square foot park for residents and a separate parking building. The project will offer reserved housing and is expected to launch late 2021.

+ The Park on Ward

The eighth luxury high rise to arrive to Ward Village as part of Howard Hughes’ master plan, The Park on Ward is expected to be located on the west side of Central Plaza Victoria Ward Park, where the old Sports Authority building was. Designed by Solomon Cordwell and Buenz, general sales are expected to begin 2021.

+ Maze

Co-owner of Bar Leather Apron, Justin Park is launching a new bar called Maze in Kakaako. There is going to be a carefully curated cocktail menu and food created by renowned chef Chris Kajioka of Miro Kaimuki. The space is currently under construction and you can follow its progress at @bar.maze on Instagram.

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