LIHUE —“They make a great cup of coffee,” said Lynette Medrano-Stine of the Kauai United Way.
But Plantation Coffee Company in the Lihue Plantation Building on Kele Street is more than coffee. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch with snacks and pick-me-ups, drinks and a selection of sandwiches.
“We also do delivery from Puhi to the Hanamaulu areas,” said Kawika Kuali‘i, cafe general manager.
Melinda Montgomery, owner of Plantation Coffee Company, Love the Journey and manager for Hale Kipa, a Kauai United Way partner agency, said Kuali‘i has come a long way since starting with the firm five years ago.
“He came to us from a clean and sober house,” Montgomery said. “He’s a great mentor because he has a story to tell. Over his five years with the Plantation Coffee Company, he’s risen to become the general manager.”
Shirley Medeiros of Alu Like is a steady customer at Plantation Coffee Company.
“This is a busy place,” Medeiros said. “It’s convenient, and the service is great. In fact they have lots of customer service. I really like everything, but my favorite is the BLT sandwich.”
Plantation Coffee Company also does catering.
“It gets crazy busy,” Kuali‘i said.
Darlene A. Kaui, a customer who works in the LP Building, said Plantation Coffee Company gets a lot of business.
“It’s too early for lunch so I’m just having a coffee and some sweets,” she said. “Everything is good, and they get a lot of business, especially for those who walk in after finding the place. I especially like their Tuna Melt.”
Nanea Marston-Correa, another customer, agreed.
“Everything is good,” she said. “But I like their Wabisabi, a wasabi tuna blend, the Tuna Avocado, and the Turkey Avocado.”
Erica Abergas, an employee for a year, likes the food, but likes working at Plantation Coffee even more.
“Next month is my one-year anniversary working here,” Abergas said. “I love the hours they give me, and the people who work here are like family. We’re very close to each other. I’m an eater and I like everything they serve.”
Montgomery started Plantation Coffee Company seven years ago after being involved with Hale Kipa and Love the Journey. Both agencies deal with the disease of drug addiction and people being released from incarceration.
“One of the best ways to fight is to find people jobs,” Montgomery said. “But that is easier said than done. I started Plantation Coffee Company not to hire people to sell coffee. We sell coffee to hire people.”
Kuali‘i said when May rolls around, it will be five years that he has been clean and sober.
Plantation Coffee Company is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday hours are from 7 to 11 a.m., and closed on Sundays.