Papaaloa Country Store and Cafe

Papaaloa Country Store and Café – Offering a Little Something for Everyone in Hamakua
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If your Big Island adventures take you along the Mamalahoa Highway, get refueled with a stop at the Papaaloa Country Store and Café in Hamakua. Their homecooked deliciousness is worth the stop all on its own. But they also have groceries, souvenirs, propane, and even EV charging stations.

- The Local Expert Team

As you explore the Mamalahoa Highway on your Big Island adventures, put the Papaaloa Country Store and Café on your itinerary. With that move, you can fuel up for even more fun, plus get whatever supplies you need for the road. You’ll want to start your visit with a stop by the café, and then finish up by visiting their store. Throughout your visit, you’re even welcome to hook your electric vehicle up to the EV charger.

A family-owned and operated joint in Hamakua, this store has long served as a pillar of the community. The building has stood tall since 1890, but it did get a facelift in 2015 when new owners stepped up to the plate. Although it’s fully restored in and out, the owners managed to retain its historical aesthetic. Beyond that, they continue to support the legacy of the business by putting their aloha spirit at the center of all they do. They’ve stayed a true local favorite as a result, although they always welcome tourists through the doors with open arms as well.

Whenever you arrive, you can expect a warm welcome and invitation to make yourself right at home. Along with their friendly service, their cozy bar and restaurant design make it quite easy to settle in for a homecooked meal. Hardwood family-style tables, string lights, and a small footprint give the space a truly homey aesthetic, after all. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive to see local musicians up on stage serenading the crowd with their most popular jams.

You can grab a seat wherever you’d like, and then start checking out the menu to see what homecooked meals are available. Although it’s often quite difficult to choose between all their amazing dishes, you really cannot go wrong no matter what you pick. They make each dish using the freshest local ingredients and recipes passed down through the generations. Then, they serve them hot and ready to enjoy as soon as each item comes out of the kitchen.

After you’re done chowing down, head on over to the store to check out their wares. As you walk through the aisles, you will find groceries, alcoholic beverages, household items, and so much more. They specialize in locally made products that often make fantastic souvenirs for your friends and family back home. An espresso bar, bakery department, and grab-n-go picnic foods round out their offerings beautifully.

Swing by to try their:

Kalua Pork Tacos
Made fresh daily, their super tender pulled pork makes a special appearance in the Kalua Pork Tacos. They make this dish by loading up two soft corn tortillas with Hawaiian-style pulled pork. Then, they put cabbage over top before adding spicy mayo and their homemade pineapple salsa.

BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwich
For a beefy kick in every bite, treat yourself to the BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwich. This dish starts with their Big Island beef marinated, slow-cooked, and then sliced thin. After that, they put the sliced beef on a house bun with plenty of Aunty Donna’s Smoking BBQ Sauce. Asian coleslaw lands on top after that to elevate the flavors even more.

Taro Burger
Want to skip the meat without compromising on bold burger flavor? Go with the Taro Burger. They make this dish by grilling up their local Hawaiian taro patty. Then, they throw it on a bun with lettuce, onion, tomato, and sweet pickles. Burger sauce goes over that to add even more magic to every bite.

Dessert is a must while visiting the café. So, save room in your belly while you grub on your meal. Otherwise, you’ll miss the chance to enjoy their fan favorites, like the Guava Tart, Mac Nut Baklava, and Lilikoi Bar. Don’t forget to ask about their daily cheesecake and cream cake selections before deciding what dessert to order.

Insider Tips:
-Need a custom cake for a special event? Put in your order three days prior to your planned arrival.
-You will need an RFID charge card or a Greenlots mobile app to use the EV charger.
-Want to skip straight to eating your selections? Put in your order online, and they’ll have it ready to go when you arrive.