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Hemingway’s serves up simply delightful food, conversation, art

  • Bill Buley/The Garden Island

    The Muesli is served quickly.

  • Bill Buley/The Garden Island

    Light fills Art Cafe Hemingway.

  • Bill Buley/The Garden Island

    Espresso is served.

  • Bill Buley/The Garden Island

    The outside of Art Cafe Hemingway is light blue.

There’s a lot to like about Art Cafe Hemingway in Kapaa.

The environment is comfortable and relaxing, bright and breezy. The staff is fast and friendly. The food is good. The prices are fine.

But if you’re a fan of the author who goes by that name, a guy you might have heard of, Ernest Hemingway, you’re going to like this place just off Kuhio Highway in Kapaa even more.

This seems like the type of cafe/breakfast restaurant you might find Ernest Hemingway sitting in the corner, drinking coffee, perhaps deep in conversation with someone about war, love or fishing.

It’s got a certain character, a quality, that seems Hemingway-like, a throw-back to the days of long ago when writers waxed on about their philosophy on life and everyone bought their books and wanted to be them.

I stopped in here after leading a Junior Achievement class at Kapaa High School on a Wednesday morning. Men and women were already there, seated, smiling, talking, seeming to be quite satisfied with life.

A corner table was open, so I sat there.

The names of “Hemingway’s Breakfasts” made me smile.

“The Sun Also Rises.”

“For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

“The Old Man and the Sea.”

“True at First Light.”

“Paris.”

“Venice.”

“Pamplona.”

Ah, it make me wish I had a copy of Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” a memori he wrote about life in the Paris in the 1920s. A buddy recommended it. It was just as good as he said.

And so is the food, coffee and service at Art Cafe Hemingway, which opened in 2011 and has developed a strong local following.

I was in the mood for easy and cheap, so I ordered from the Hemingway’s Brunch menu. The first item, Muesli, which was oatmeal in milk with yogurt, fruits, nuts and honey for $5, and cup of coffee, Espresso, for $3.

Both were excellent. Nice and clean presentation. Coffee was strong, but not too.

The menu isn’t extensive, but it’s good. Gorgonzola salad will run you $9. Vegan Muesli, $6. Boeuf Boeuf Bourguingnon, which is beef braised with red wine with mushrooms and onions, is $18. It’s worth it, as it’s a traditional stew fro mthe Burgundy region of France, where Hemingway spent time.

This is more than a place to eat and drink. It’s a place to talk story. It’s a place to admire architecture and art. It’s a place to watch people. It’s a place to read, and a place to write.

If it’s breakfast you want, any of the menu offerings that go by Hemingway novels or hangouts looks good. Organic scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, whole grain bread, yogurt with fresh fruit, pancetta and Mediterranean relish are among the ingredients.

If you’re staying for dinner, 6 to 9 p.m., check out the impressive wine list.

Brunch is served 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is 6 to 9 p.m.

The address is 4-1495 Kuhio Highway.

It is fitting to end this with a few quotes by Ernest Hemingway, which, in way, describe Art Cafe Hemingway.

w “All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”

w My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

Hemingway was a man who wrote simply and beautiful. Nothing fake. No flowery images. No unnecessary adjectives. He said what he wanted to say, as it needed to be said, as it should have been said.

Think of Art Cafe Hemingway in the same way.

And after all, it really is a moveable feast.

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