Smiley’s Local Grinds

Smiley's Local Grinds – Your Top Spot for Hawaiian-Style BBQ in East Side Kauai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

At Smiley’s Local Grinds, you can get all your favorite Hawaiian-style BBQ comfort foods in a single visit. From Loco Moco and Kalbi Ribs to Chicken Katsu and Kalua plates, there’s something for everyone at this lowkey East Side Kauai eatery. The daily specials will keep you guessing about what’s on tap, although you can always count on the Smiley’s Chicken to satisfy all your cravings.  

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

When only comfort food will do, you just need to zoom on over to Smiley’s Local Grinds to get your fill. At this East Side Kauai eatery, you can order up all the Hawaiian-style BBQ favorites from LauLau to Lomi Salmon. They have all their fan favorites in mini and large sizes plus offer them ala carte so you can build your own meals.

If you simply cannot choose between all their amazing dishes, look to their combination plates for a meal to remember. Each one comes with two of their top menu items in a single order, letting you savor all the flavors you love at each visit. As if that’s not enough, you also get two scoops of rice and macaroni salad on the side.

Want their Kalua, Hamburger Steak, and Smiley’s Chicken all in one? Just treat yourself to their Mixed Plate and you’re all set to get your grub on without compromising on your dining experience. Before getting your heart set on any of their regular menu items, take a moment to check out the whiteboard to see the daily specials. They have many surprising items available from time to time, including Garlic Chili Frogs Legs, Prime Rib & Lobster, and Ahi Katsu.

Although they do not list any desserts on their main menu, you can often find tasty sweets on the whiteboard as well. Ube Cheesecake, Fried Ice Cream, and Banana Pudding Cupcakes are all possibilities, depending on what ingredients they can get their hands on.

Their most popular dishes include:

Smiley’s Chicken
Available on the main menu, Smiley’s Chicken will have you grinning ear to ear whenever you order this local favorite. You can select the regular for perfectly crispy fried chicken with just the right amount of salt. Or go with the garlic chili sauce for an extra dose of flavor that’ll leave you begging for more. 

Fried Saimin
If you love saimin, you’re going to adore how they take that iconic dish to the next level to create their Fried Saimin. Only available as a daily special, this filling entrée starts with perfectly cooked noodles fried with all the classic saimin ingredients. You’ll find BBQ pork, Spam, green onions, carrots, and eggs plus whatever else they want to throw in the pan.  

Ahi Belly with Garlic Butter
When ahi comes in as the fresh catch, you can count on the Ahi Belly with Garlic Butter landing on the special menu. This dish starts with a hearty filet of ahi belly that’s sauteed until light and flakey, and then covered in garlic butter sauce. You also get two scoops of rice alongside, plus a lemon slice and plenty of diced green onions over top.

Even though it’s all about the quality food at this eatery, they don’t slack on the friendly service. You’ll instantly feel at home as they throw Alohas your way as you walk through the doors. Once you get to the front counter and put in your order, it won’t be long before you get your food. Upon receiving your takeout boxes, head down to Kalapaki Beach or any of the other nearby beaches to enjoy your meal while taking in the beautiful views.

Insider Tips:
-Want to see the daily specials before you leave the hotel? Just check their Facebook page or the calendar on their website.
-Since they’re so busy year-round, it’s not unusual for them to run out of their most popular dishes. When that happens, you’ll see a note on the whiteboard up front.
-When arriving near lunch or dinner time, expect a line of eager patrons ready to chow down on good eats. Although you might end up waiting a while for your turn to order, it’s well worth the time standing around.