Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, July 15, 2001


Al fresco brunch
today aims to entice you
to Kuhio Beach

By Betty Shimabukuro

If you belong to the I Hate Waikiki club, it may be time to reopen your mind.

Waikiki is changing, at least from the center part on east toward Kapiolani Park. There's a year-old bandstand at the park, for starters, and the graceful promenade along the ocean that begins at Kuhio Beach.

"There are so many people who think it is just wonderful, but there are so many people who just don't know about it," says Sharon Ishii, special assistant to Mayor Jeremy Harris.

The city wants you back out there, and so does the Waikiki Improvement Association, and so was born "Brunch at the Beach," a monthly event that debuts today.

Two blocks of Kalakaua Avenue, from Kaiulani to Liliuokalani avenues, the area streetside of Kuhio Beach, will be closed to traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The street will be covered in Astroturf and set with chairs, tables and bright blue umbrellas.

The point being? Food.

Buy scrip for 50 cents each and exchange it for Caesar salad from Duke's Waikiki (2 scrip), manapua from Seafood Village (3 scrip for two), an omelet made to order by chefs of the Sheraton Waikiki (7 scrip) -- or any number of choices in between, including ribs, baked goods, dim sum and noodles, Italian hot dogs and desserts. Other participating hotels are the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Pacific Beach Hotel, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

'Ale'a, the 60-member Halau Hula Olana and the Royal Hawaiian Band Glee Club will perform from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On the Astroturf will be table seating for 400 and an additional 150 chairs. Or take your food to the beach.

Parking, always a problem in Waikiki, will be available at the Honolulu Zoo and Kapiolani Park. Shuttles will run from these lots to the brunch. The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and the Waikiki Trade Center are offering $1 parking.

We warned you earlier that this would be happening, but if you forgot and are reading this too late to catch today's inaugural brunch, mark your calendar for Aug. 12. "Brunch on the Beach" will be held on the second Sunday of each month except September (because of Aloha Festivals events) and December (too much holiday competition).

This stretch of Oahu shouldn't be considered only for tourists, Ishii says. "Waikiki really comes alive when the local people are there."

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