With a salty dog at the bar and salty sea air on the breeze, Olympic Cafe in the heart of Kapaa town is a place to kick back and watch traffic go by, or catch the game on the big screen.
It’s a favorite local haunt for a pau-hana drink, a routine visitors’ stop, and one of those places you can get a hula pie, which is an iconic stack of ice cream and chocolate topped with whipped cream and made to share. One slice runs about $11 and stands about eight inches high.
Stepping into the spacious dining room feels akin to the bar on the TV show “Cheers,” where everyone is family and a hearty list of regulars gathers to talk story with the cooks, waitstaff and bartenders.
One side of the restaurant overlooks the Pacific Ocean across a parking lot. The other side overlooks busy Kuhio Highway through Kapaa, with views of the Dragon Building and the hustle and bustle of Kapaa’s beachy downtown area.
From booths and barstools to tables and large parties, Olympic Cafe has something for everyone at nearly any time of the day. The bar is well-stocked with old-faithful liquors and a few Hawaii-made products, and the bartenders know how to sling a solid cocktail.
Burgers and fries, fish and chips, tacos and plate lunches dominate the lunch menu, but Olympic Cafe serves an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Portions are large.
Breakfast omelets are a favorite post-surf morning grind, and the waffle fries are in high demand. They’re just a bit bigger than the typical waffle fry — typical for Olympic Cafe, where all the portions are just a little bit bigger than average.
Happy hours run daily, too, with various specials.
Cooks turn customers loose on making their own dishes for special weekly events, like Friday’s taco night, when a make-your-own taco bar is laid out and patrons get access, with a two-drink minimum.
Olympic Cafe also hosts a make-your-own bloody mary bar on Sundays. Staff brings out a table with a spread of hot sauces, Mary mixes, salts, vinegar, limes and other garnishes. Customers get the vodka from the bar and then choose from the array of bloody Mary accouterment to make their own cocktail.
Those who don’t want to chance messing up the classic mixture can ask a bartender to mix it behind the bar.
For those looking for lighter fare, check out the Rob Salad — a mixture of organic greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, avocado, dried apricots and pine nuts, all in a balsamic dressing. The salad is big enough for more than one meal for the average person.
Open daily with friendly service, Olympic Cafe is a spot to unwind, meet with friends or host out-of-town visitors for an evening of fresh fish, fresh air and a hula pie to share.
Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.