Boots & Kimo's moving to more spacious digs in new Kailua building


POSTED: Saturday, August 01, 2009

Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen in Kailua is moving into a space two times larger just down the street from its current restaurant on Hekili Street.

The family-run eatery best known for its signature macadamia nut pancakes will anchor 151 Hekili, a new two-story retail and office building at the mauka corner of Hekili and Hahani streets.

It's a proud moment for brothers Rick and Jesse Kiakona, who started the restaurant 15 years ago in honor of their late father, George “;Boots,”; as well as their uncle Kimo.

Whereas their old restaurant was a popular “;hole in the wall,”; the new space will offer 2,000 square feet with 15-foot-high ceilings, and the capacity to seat 60, about twice the number of customers. That's not including the outdoor seating on the lanai outside.

The menu won't change much, given that it's consistently drawn a line outside the door.

Dishes will still include omelets, macadamia nut pancakes and pulehu ribs, with generous portions and competitive prices.

“;Why change something that's been working so well?”; said Jesse Kiakona.

The Kiakonas are aiming for an Oct. 1 opening, possibly earlier.

While the move is risky during a recession, Rick Kiakona said the brothers talked about it three years ago. They signed the lease last year with land manager Kaneohe Ranch Co., which invited them to anchor the new center.

Other tenants that will move into the new $6 million center include Orange Tree Frozen Yogurt, Old Republic, Pacific Housing Advisors, Enpro Environmental and Windward Community Federal Credit Union.

The center—with 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 9,000 square feet of upstairs office space—replaces a retail center built decades ago. A parking lot behind it offers 40 stalls.

Rick and Jesse Kiakona first opened Boots & Kimo's on Father's Day in 1994 to fulfill their late father's dream of opening a restaurant, with the help of their Uncle Kimo, who owned Kimo's Gazebo on Maui.

Everything the pair learned was from their father and uncle, including the family's macadamia nut pancake sauce, which remains a secret.

The restaurant's logo depicts their father, “;Boots”; (nicknamed for the big boots he wore as a kid), lounging on a pile of macadamia nut pancakes, with another plate of the pancakes atop his belly.

Family has been a priority for the brothers, who believe in hard work but have never expanded beyond one location so they can spend time with their children and grandchildren.

The whole family pitches in at the restaurant, which is open seven days a week.

“;We live Kailua, work Kailua and breathe Kailua,”; said Rick Kiakona. “;We want to stay here.”;

While Boots & Kimo's has only been open for breakfast and lunch all these years, the brothers plan to eventually open up for dinner at the new location, and are hiring.

Boots & Kimo's will also offer catering.