Destination: Yumi’s Restaurant

When you think of a high school football team, you think of a team of warrior boys. After many practices and games, you can bet that team of warriors is filled with the true hunger of a champ.

So where could you take them to fulfill that hunger? Well, I know that the Waimea football team only has to walk a few steps to find Yumi’s Restaurant off Kaumuali‘i Highway.

There you will find Gina Duarte (Yumi’s owner) is ready to tackle all of your orders with a smile. If she has to take your order, cook, serve and clear tables, Gina will do it with ease and will have you coming back for a replay.

As I found my way to Yumi’s a week ago, I was excited to try their chicken Caesar salad. No two salads on this island are ever alike, and I know this from my own personal findings.

So there it was, a plate filled with fresh island greens, crispy fried chicken and warm fried croutons. As a friendly family diner, you know I had to order a side of curly fries for my son and I too. But you know you are more than welcome to order a classic cheeseburger to go with those fries. And by the way, the salad dressing went great with the curly fries, and for a moment in time, I was reminiscing about my childhood days at golf practice.

Yumi’s Restaurant truly felt like the 19th hole; those who play golf know what I am talking about. It’s the last stop for ono grinds or drinks after you play a gruesome 18 holes, before you head home.

But my childhood days didn’t have Yumi’s Restaurant’s maki sushi; what a light snack to munch on. As I was sitting there thinking to myself, the bright green tables said “hello,” and the blue walls reminded me of Waimea High School’s blue spirit. I could imagine all the high school students stopping in for some ono grinds.

“Besides the students, people who work on the base and hospital also stop by to take home some of our chicken katsu and homemade pies,” Gina said as she served my friend her order of loco moco.

With more than just local/diner grinds, Gina has touched Kaua‘i locals and visitors with her special baking talents. As I asked her what her best-selling baked good is, Gina replied by saying “the number one crowd favorite would be my homemade pumpkin crunch!”

As I looked at the pumpkin crunch, I began to think of Thanksgiving, which by the way is just around the corner. I was sure thankful to have met Gina and try her scrumptious dishes. And I was more grateful she bought Yumi’s Restaurant from the previous owners back in December 2007.

So take a break from cooking tonight, and enjoy some classy diner favorites with the Hawai‘i twist of course. Or bring the whole soccer, golf, football, or x-country team after a day’s worth of practice; I am sure the kids will enjoy some burgers, smiles and sweets.

But if you are not sure where Yumi’s is or what time the restaurant is open, please feel free to call Gina at (808) 338-1731. Be a team player and meet your team’s goal by heading over to Yumi’s Restaurant with an appetite of a champion.

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