With the price of gas rapidly advancing towards unsustainable (mainly for myself) levels, a trip to town requires at least a few of the following necessities:
- A list of required errands to be accomplished (ie: post office, bank, groceries, gas)
- Personal pampering (ie: beauty salon, exercise class, manicure, massage)
- Instant gratification (ie: shopping, latte, movie, ice cream sundae)
- Fabulous meal and service at a dazzling and/or scenic location
- Communing with girlfriends over sunset margaritas at an oceanfront locale
- Taking care of the love of your life by driving them to the docs for a physical (your kitty or puppy – silly!! Who did you think I meant??)
On this vogless and sunny day, our group met at Humpy’s Big Island Alehouse on Alii Drive to check out their latest lunchtime offerings. A few months ago, I gently chided them for presenting (what I thought to be at the time) food that was not quite up to par with our expectations. We always give new restaurants a second chance to redeem themselves and they did not disappoint us today.
Eight of us descended on the two-story establishment, fka Hard Rock Café, and were directed upstairs. Our table was just inside the lanai, affording a nice breeze and view of the cruiseship anchored in the bay. Tall barstools meant uncomfortably dangling limbs for the more petite Babes and we subsequently relocated to another table at the back of the room – lapping shoreline waves still in our view.
Six of the gals opted to share three “Stone Baked Subs” between them – a monstrous concoction of assorted ingredients wrapped in Humpy’s own pizza dough and baked in their stone oven. To her credit, our able server, Jennifer, frequently reminded us that the sub order required between 15 – 20 minutes prep time. Dottie and I agreed that we each wanted our own meal and she promptly ordered the Cordon Bleu Sub for $12.99, literally stuffed to the ceiling with charbroiled chicken breast, sliced ham, melted Swiss cheese, Dijonnaise sauce, lettuce, tomato and thinly-sliced red onions. At first glance, it appeared that the mountainous sub could satisfy the entire table! Dottie could barely get through one half of her order, and decided to wrap the other half for the “love of her life” – hubby or puppies?? Tee hee!
The Cordon Bleu, a clear favorite and also a shared selection for Cindy and Mary Lee, arrived on sunflower-yellow “Fiesta” style plates. The golden-baked sandwiches were still steaming while melting rivulets of swiss cheese wound through the succulent filling of ham and chicken.
Mei instructed Jennifer to bring 2 sides of fries at $3.99 each for distribution to the grateful diners. Carol specified “extra crispy” and to our delight, they arrived as ordered, hot and perfectly seasoned.
Joanne and Dossie split the savory BBQ Pork sub ($10.99); a crowded achievement of slow-roasted pulled pork, melting cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, dressed with creamy coleslaw and crispy onion straws. The sub must have met with their approval because the post-meal plates were practically absolved of all crumbs.
The shared Italian Sub ($11.99), delivered to Mei and Carol on separate dishes, featured deli sliced ham, spicy pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives, and melted provolone cheese, dressed with Italian vinaigrette, lettuce, tomato and thinly sliced red onions. With mouths stuffed full, both acknowledged the sagacity of their lunch choice by nodding their heads in agreement.
Mildly disappointed with the Fish Taco on a previous visit, I opted for the “Health Nut” @ $13.99: two filets of blackened ahi, a scoop of steamed white rice, tomato and lemon wedge, marinated cucumber salad and a noteworthy tartar sauce. As an island-girl, my history with the ocean and it’s inhabitants runs deep, and I usually order fish whenever it is freshly-caught in local waters. No complaints whatsoever with my healthful plate lunch – except to note that if you specify ‘blackened’, be sure to notify your server that you would like it cold inside (raw or pink) and hot outside, or it will arrive well done. I failed to mention that I prefer my ahi charred on the exterior and quivering on the interior. The seasoning was good however, and you just cannot go wrong with fresh fish and steamed rice! The flavorful tartar sauce was a great complement. Namasu – the local name for marinated, sliced cucumber, was the salad offering on this dish. Humpy’s did it justice! Thinly sliced, crisp, and marinated in a rice wine vinegar dressing that delivered a slight kick in the palate. I could have managed a bowl of it!
Did I mention the iced tea? A few of us had the regular @ $2.50 and the others ordered the flavored @ $3.25. It really boils down to personal preference.
Jennifer, our eager waitress, was a whirlwind of service and accommodation; a refreshing upgrade from our last stint at the Alehouse.
Today, we enjoyed gazing at the many ships anchored offshore coupled with the pleasure of each other’s company. Conversations ranged from one Babe’s journey of building and recently moving in to a new home to another’s delight with the efficiency of her current homebuilder. Appliance purchases, kids and grandchildren, pets and partners were also topics during the Wednesday afternoon commune. The subject of Sees Candies came up – probably because those that shared were still hungry and would not dare order dessert – and the lively conversation took a decidedly provocative u-turn; veering downhill (or uphill?) towards the ramifications of the possible legalization and taxation of pakalolo, vanilla vs. chocolate, and chocolate vs. instant libido gratification. Yikes! Did I miss the sampling of Humpy’s 100 plus brews sometime during the meal? We Kona Babes DO have fun!
It was time to leave, as we all contributed $14 each to settle the lunch tab. Once outside, I noticed that Humpy’s thoughtfully placed a tray of pineapple for passerbys to sample on an umbrella-shaded podium – nice touch, Humpy’s!
Kona is really a small town in that word will get around the local populace very quickly. For restaurants, this can be heaven sent or a sorry nightmare, as experienced by many establishments that closed their doors within weeks or months of a grand opening. The locals are fickle about how they spend their hard-earned money, and although not asking for the moon – they generally do expect value in the way of good product, service and ambiance.
Humpy’s has a terrific location with an unstoppable ocean view, lots of parking, and frontage on Alii Drive. They also have a late night menu with service until midnight – a rarity in Kona! We will return for lunch again because we found the food to be good value for the price and the service was pleasing. I did not conduct our customary lua inspection, having reported on that in a prior writing.
Humpy’s also serves breakfast daily from 8 – 11 AM. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a leisurely weekend morning sitting on their lanai while enjoying a steaming cup of coffee and King Crabcake eggs benedict. They also serve regular benny’s along with other popular breakfast items.
Visit their website for upcoming events and to view their menus: