Food Writing

The Seaside Restaurant & Aqua Farm Fresh Fish and More

By MEGAN MOSELEY |  Sept. 24, 2015  |   BIG ISLAND NOW

Diners looking for a real farm-to-table experience might find just what they’re looking for at The Seaside Restaurant & Aqua Farm in Hilo.

Customers choosing this Keaukaha-based location can look right out their window to see just where their food is coming from, as long as they’re ordering fish of course.

Colin Nakagawa, president and chef of the restaurant, said he raises and prepares a variety of types of fish for customers to feast upon.

“The restaurant features fish that are raised and grown here on the farm, the fish farm,” he explained while pointing to a pond located behind the restaurant.

Behind the facility is a 30-acre all-natural, brackish fishpond called “Lokowaka.” Within in the fishpond are a few different types of fish including mullet, tilapia, and local favorite aholehole. On the menu is a fried aholehole pan-fried crispy, served with daikon-suri for $26.95. It’s worth a try.

And while the aqua farm certainly adds a particular uniqueness to this restaurant, it’s the story behind it that makes this place a local landmark.

Located near Carlsmith Beach Park on the Eastside of the Big Island, the restaurant has been in the area since the early 1920’s. Nakagawa’s grandparents used to own the original restaurant. The building was previously located closer to the beach until a tsunami swept through Hawaii Island in 1946 and destroyed the property.

The restaurant was rebuilt and now seats 175 people and has three different rooms.

Nakagawa, who carried on his grandparent’s legacy by taking over the restaurant, decided to keep some old menu favorites while adding some new stylish dishes. 

The original Seaside restaurant, called the “Seaside Club” only served mullet and chicken. Now they offer seafood, as well as beef, veal, and chicken. They also offer appetizers, sushi and spirits.

For more information visit or call 808-935-8825.

They’re closed on Monday and are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. They also serve dinner on Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

New Juice Bar Opens in Hilo

By MEGAN MOSELEY |  June 20, 2013  |   BIG ISLAND NOW

For one Big Island business owner, the juice is worth the squeeze.

Sarah Chard, 34, owns Loved by the Sun in Hilo where she focuses on using organic and Big Island-grown produce to make an array of fresh juices that are both healthy and delicious.

Chard said she rotates about 30 different types of juices periodically, but the fan-favorite is a carrot-based concoction known as the “cure.” This semi-sweet carrot juice is made with pineapple and turmeric, as well, and costs $8.

The cure, like many of Chard’s juices, is filled with plenty of vitamins and nutrients, and each 16 oz. juice is made with three to five pounds of produce.

Starting a sustainable business that promotes healthy living is what inspired Chard to open Loved by the Sun.

“I want to see people be healthier and I want to make my juice business a closed system that supports the local farmers here and have zero waste by using recyclable jars,” Chard said.

Loved by the Sun has been open since February of this year. Chard said she hopes to one day expand her business by starting her own farm for the juice bar. Until then she’s using produce from local farmers, which she said is the key to her business’s success.

“It’s really all about making the connections with the farmers,” she said.

For more information about Loved by the Sun visit their website. You can also follow Loved by the Sun on Instagram and Facebook.

Loved by the Sun is located at 475 Kinoole St. in Hilo and is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri.

Hilo Bay Cafe: A Pork Place Special and Dessert 

By MEGAN MOSELEY |  Sept. 9, 2015  |   BIG ISLAND NOW

Hilo Bay Cafe’s pork program adds variety to this Big Island restaurant’s menu.

Aaron Anderson, executive chef at Hilo Bay Cafe, says the restaurant purchases about two hogs per month from local slaughterhouse Kulana.

“Within the farmers on the island, we get the macnut wild boar, a Berkshire hog, a Yorkshire hog. I consider the Berkshire to be the more superior,” he said while pointing to a pork plate he made using that particular meat.

On the plate were two fatty pieces of pork and an interesting array of food, including cabbage brazed in lard, a colorful sweet potato or okinawan potato and pickled cucumber.While the plate looked busy, Anderson said the dish is rather simple to make.

“This was pork stock, celery, carrot, onion, fresh herbs…” he said of the recipe. “It’s very simple.”

Sitting next to the pork special that day was a sweet Napoleon pastry made by Hilo Bay Cafe pastry chef Jade Gusman.

While these dishes are unlikely to be seen on the menu anytime soon, Anderson said a variety of other appealing specials can be ordered each week. You never know what you might get, he said, as the specials change just about every other day.

“The specials are going to change because we start with the whole animal and we’ll work through the bone and rib chop into the brazed pork shoulder, the shanks…we’ll take the pigs feet and make stock or pigs feet soup,” he said.

Anderson said being able to use the entire animal for a variety of recipes is one of his favorite aspects of the program.

“We consider ourselves fortunate because we get to use the whole animal,” he said explaining that even the chicharrones, or pork rinds, on the plate were made from the same pig.

Aside from buying their meat locally, Anderson said the restaurant also works with a wide range of farmers for numerous ingredients.

“It gives us a chance to use what’s in season,” he said.

Hilo Bay Cafe is located at 123 Lihiwai St. near the Suisan Fish Market. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

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