Joe Kali drove his family from Lihue to the Plantations BBQ &Bar Sunday in Waimea.
“We had friends visiting from California, and they had breakfast here,” said Lisa Kali. “We didn’t even know this place was open, so we’re just checking it out because our friends said it was pretty good.”
The Plantations BBQ &Bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the building adjacent to the Waimea Plantation Cottages.
“It’s hard to see a good place shut and not being used,” said Mama Ane Kanahele, who dropped in for an after-church gathering with her family. “This is a good place where the family can gather.”
The proceeds from Plantations BBQ &Bar go toward keeping Makanalani, a unique free camp available to youth.
Makanalani, translated from Hawaiian to mean “Heavenly Gift,” is a 130-acre ranch on Kauai’s North Shore where youth from Hawaii can experience nature, farm life, the love of God and the love of others.
Jim Smith, Plantations manager, said the Waimea eatery is a franchise of Chicken in a Barrel.
The partnership is unique because of the restaurant’s proceeds supporting Makanalani.
Chicken in a Barrel BBQ started out as a Kauai community outreach in the 1990s, serving barrel-smoked meat at fundraisers and community events. Despite having two restaurants that have been voted “Best BBQ in Hawaii” for four years, Chicken in a Barrel BBQ is still known for giving away meals to those in need at special times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and during natural disasters like the recent flooding.
This spirit of love and giving fits into the mission for Plantations BBQ &Bar, touted as the “west-most family restaurant in the United States,” and its sister operation, JoJo’s Shave Ice in downtown Waimea.
The main attraction is the barrel-smoked meat, pork, chicken, and fish done in special barrels outside the restaurant, its tantalizing aroma grabbing diners at the entrance to tease the tastebuds.
“I know about the smoked meat,” said Chris Faye, director of the Kokee Museum and Hui o Laka. “But I like the wraps. They use the same meat, but have it done in wraps.”
“The most popular request is the Sampler Plate,” Smith said. “This gives diners a little taste of chicken, beef, pork, and a baby back rib.”
There are separate entrees available for the Chicken in a Barrel plates: baby back ribs, beef or pork, as well as a salad offering that includes Hanalei mixed greens with a choice of dressing.
Grill items include 100 percent Kauai beef burgers, and the Mexi’Que offers tacos and burritos.
“I wanted the cinnamon roll,” Lisa said. “But they were gone, already. I guess you need to get here early to get them.”
The cinnamon roll is on the breakfast menu that includes the traditional eggs with choice of meat, pancakes, a loco moco, and more specialty items like the breakfast burrito, a veggie scramble and papaya yogurt granola.
The happy hour menu includes appetizers and a selection of popular brews. Draft selections are from the Maui Brewing Company, including the Big Swell IPA, Bikini Blonde Lager and a Coconut Porter.
Rooms are available for larger family or company gatherings and meetings.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.