Food, music and hula

Keoki’s Paradise has been serving up seafood, steaks and hula pies for 30 years. 

The secret to their success is the sense of family and community that is felt when customers walk through the front doors, said John Poehnelt, assistant general manager.

“It’s about family and community; there’s employees whose families have worked here for generations,” he said. “We’ve always endorsed family within the restaurant, and that’s what holds us together.”

Martina Kamarullah, community relations coordinator, said several members of her family got their first job at Keoki’s Paradise.

“When my aunts moved here 20 years ago, Keoki’s was their first job on the island,” she said.

Now, her 16-year-old cousin works at the restaurant, which employs about 180 people.

“We take great pride in our employees,” she said.

Located in the Poipu Shopping Village and nestled in a garden, Keoki’s Paradise offers a range of options.

In addition to a main dining room menu, there is also a bar, chef’s sunset and gluten-free menus.

In the main dining room, dishes like prime rib and panko and mac nut crusted fish are staples.

“A lot of the locals go for prime rib; the panko mac nut crusted fish is a good tourist pick,” Kamarullah said. “Tourists come in for Hawaiian fish, so they are drawn to the fish dishes.”

Other popular menu items include the seafood risotto and the dinosaur kale salad.

“It depends on what the customer is looking for,” said Shalyn Jim, marketing coordinator. “Some people may be fresh off a boat tour, and want to grab a quick burger and go. Others may want the full dining experience.”

For those who want to eat quickly, the hostess will offer the bar, which is family friendly. If guests want the full Keoki’s Paradise experience, they are seated in the dining room.

The full Keoki’s Paradise experience includes a hula show Thursday through Saturday.

“We wanted to do something different,” Jim said. “We always wanted to do it, but didn’t have the space.”

About a month ago, the restaurant built a stage in the gardens specifically for hula shows.

“We always had live music in the bar, but we wanted to bring music to the dining room,” Kamarullah said.

From 5 to 6:15 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hula dancers and musicians take to the stage. The singers supply their own dancers, and there’s a different group every night. People come from all over the island to perform at Keoki’s Paradise, Jim said.

Even though it’s still new, the hula show is already popular, she said.

“People choose the dining room side over the bar now, and people come in just for the show,” she said.

Keoki’s Paradise is popular with both tourists and residents, Kamarullah said.

“Because we’ve been here for so long, there are a lot of people who have been coming here for 30 years,” she said.

Keoki’s Paradise offers live music every night of the week. Reservations are not required, but recommended.

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