Maona Lunch Counter

Maona Lunch Counter – Get Your Fill of Hawaiian Plate Lunch Favorites in Keaau
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When nothing else will do but Hawaiian plate lunch favorites on the double, put Maona Lunch Counter on your radar. Located along the Mamalahoa Highway in Keaau, this little eatery largely serves as a convenient spot for nearby workers to grab lunch. They have short hours as a result, so time your visit right to get a taste of their homecooked goodness.  

- The Local Expert Team

Whenever you’re craving authentic Hawaiian plate lunches served up fast, head on over to Maona Lunch Counter to get your fill. Set right along the Mamalahoa Highway in Keaau, this eatery mostly serves lunch to all the locals working hard across the Shipman Business Park. As a result of that mission, they only open their doors for the lunch rush and then call it a day rather early. So, you’ll want to time your visit just right for a chance to get a taste of their homecooked meals.

All their menu items start with the freshest island ingredients around. They only use locally raised grass-fed beef, fish caught right along the shores of the Big Island, and produce from nearby farms. As they come across in-season produce, they roll out the daily specials to match, perfectly complementing their everyday fare. Their talented chef makes every last item using time-honored recipes and proven culinary techniques. They even smoke all their own brisket, bacon, and other meats to infuse them with rich, bold flavor in every bite.

So, whenever you come through the doors, you’ll want to browse their menus from top to bottom before deciding what to order. You will have plenty of time to do so, too, because there’s almost always a line leading up to the counter. As soon as the lunch bell rings, nearby workers jet on over to get stick to your rib deliciousness to fuel the rest of their day. Then, they keep coming through the doors until they close up shop in the early afternoon.

Although they’re a true local favorite, tourists can also expect to get welcomed through the doors like family. They send aloha to all who come through their doors and then proudly serve up their homecooked meals in big portions. Every meal comes in an eco-friendly compostable takeout container, perfect for hitting the road. But you’re warmly invited to sit down at their tables if they’re open, so you can enjoy your selections right then and there if you prefer.

You’ll definitely want to try the:

Viking Burger
Always made to impress, the Viking Burger is the way to go when your hunger just won’t quit. They start this dish by grilling a grass-fed beef patty to your desired level of doneness. Then, they put bleu cheese and American cheese slices over it until perfectly melty. After that, the cheesy burger lands on the bun along with caramelized onions, bacon, and plenty of crack sauce, of course. French fries come alongside as standard, but you can upgrade to onion rings for an extra charge.

Loco Moco
When you’re craving a classic Hawaiian plate lunch, just do yourself a favor and get the Loco Moco. They make this popular dish by grilling up a burger patty to perfection. Then, they put it over two scoops of rice, add an egg how you like it, and pour on more than enough gravy. As if all that’s not enough, coleslaw comes on the side.

BBQ Smoked Brisket
Whenever they can get their hands on a fresh brisket, it goes into the smoker to create their ever-popular BBQ Smoked Brisket. So, when you see it on the menu, order it up to get smoky meat cooked until tender and oh-so-delicious. They put it alongside white rice and coleslaw to help elevate the flavors even more.

As you travel around the Hilo area, keep an eye out for their food truck, which usually sits in the old Sears parking lot on Saturdays. Lovingly dubbed the Maona Lunch Wagon, this small truck offers all the most popular dishes served at its main location. So, don’t hesitate to stop in for a bite to eat whenever you see it parked along your route.

Insider Tips:
-They are a cash-only establishment. So, stop by the ATM before swinging by to get your meal.
-Need catering services for your next big bash? Just ask if they can provide all your favorite dishes on the scheduled date.
-If you fall in love with their BBQ sauce, ask to take a jar with you for later.