Rustlin’ up some good grub at Wrangler’s

On Main Street in Waimea, Wrangler’s Steakhouse is known for its unique beach-cowboy style and attentive service. Opened in 1984 by Colleen Faye and her brother, Colleen now is sole proprietor.

The Western-themed restaurant was originally called Menehune Taco, until it was purchased and the menu started changing, as well as expansion of the restaurant. Then, in 1992 Hurricane Iniki hit. Faye said it took about three years to recover, in which time she added one of the more unique aspects to the restaurant: the local gift shop.

Here, customers can purchase various things unique to the restaurant’s cowboy style. “We try and keep it local, yeah?” Faye said. There’s everything from leather bags, books and art by locals, Ni‘ihau shell leis, locally made laptop cases, chicken cards and gifts, to Aloha Spice Co. items, papaya seed dressing mix and much more.

So now to the important part: the food. I chose to get the special of the day, which was a local Walu fish sandwich that came with fries and complimentary garlic vegetable soup from the soup and salad bar.

The fish was cooked just right. It was grilled just enough so that it had a buttery outside that made a light crunch, while still keeping the middle warm and chewable. The flavor was amazing, too. With a toasted bun, fresh lettuce, a lemon slice and a small serving of tartar sauce, the sandwich was refreshing, yet filling. I usually don’t order fish sandwiches, but it was just what I needed to get me through the rest of the day.

My co-worker, Andrea Frainier, ordered the “Kau Kau” tin lunch special. The three-tier lunch special, for $10.95, packs tempura battered shrimp and vegetables with a dipping sauce, juicy slices of teriyaki beef, white rice and a side of kim chee in a bento-inspired meal  It harkens back to the days when the sugar mill was open, and workers would take a break and dine on their homemade meals. The meal comes with a complimentary bowl of soup, or diners can add a side salad for $1. “It’s a must for tourists looking to eat a traditional, Kaua’i-style meal, or for locals who want to dine on something ono,” my co-worker says.

“We’re so mellow out here in Waimea,” Faye said. “Our ultimate goal is to provide good service and ono food.”

For more information and a sneak peek at the menu, visitwww.wranglersrestaurant.com. Or call (808) 338-1218. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays. The restaurant is closed Sundays.

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