Nearly two years after the closing of the historic century-old Kojima Store in Kapaa, Hanai has opened its doors with the concept of real food and locally sourced “deliciousness.”
What started as a pop-up restaurant at Java Kai at the beginning of 2015 as a collaboration between chef Adam Watten and general manager Collin Darrell became more.
The two teamed up with others to explore a marketplace and foodhub that sells exclusively, locally sourced items from Hawaii — not just Kauai — and offer food classes or workshops to the public.
“Anything from food and wine pairing to fundamentals of cookery like baking, boiling and smoking,” Darrell said. “Or utilization of different ingredients like salt or fermented foods, knife skills, butchery of animals, butchery of vegetables, saucework.”
Watten and Darrell spent a year in 2015 experimenting with different recipes and working with the community through the pop-up restaurant.
Kojima Store, which has been in the Kojima family for five generations, closed its doors in 2014 and has since been vacant.
But Darrell, who has a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management, said Hanai is staying true to the community by recycling the building the Kojimas used when it opened in its current spot decades ago.
“The Kojima Store is infamous,” Darrell said. “(Hanai) is a brand-new store. We’ve had to do some recent upgrades and repurposing.
The Kojima Store was known for its quality meats and Darrell said he’s bringing that back.
“We also intend to be processing a lot of animals,” Darrell said. “Pork, beef, lamb, venison, goat, poultry and so the meat program is that touch of Kojima that everyone needed. The ranchers needed it and there wasn’t that venue and they liked this.”
The market, which is open Thursday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be adaptable to the season and to what customers are looking for, kind of like a farmer’s market but with more options, said Lyle Cady, one of Hanai’s new additions.
From carrot stalks, eggs and pickles to kimchee, pepper corned chutney and turnips, the market stocks a variety of goodies.
“Every day there will be new things,” Darrell said. “So we do not want to consistently have everything. We want to consistently be delicious, interesting and unique.”
The restaurant concept, which opens to the public First Saturday with pupus and a bar, will feature a unique dining experience, but won’t be similar to “fine dining,” Darrell said.
“It will be like a pre-game,” Darrell said. “You can come here and have fun with your friends.”