Chef Peter Merriman has been called the “Pied Piper of regional
Hawaiian cuisine.” His restaurant in the Big Island town of Waimea
features dishes like scallops with ume vinaigrette and Hamakua
mushroom flan. But when the toque comes off, Merriman heads for
down-home places like Cafe 100, which is credited with naming the
“loco moco,” Hawaii’s surfer dish of hamburger on rice with a fried
egg and gravy.
“That’s the kind of place I’d be eating at the end of my shift,
Cafe 100,” he said. “It’s ‘loco moco’ and Portuguese sausage and
eggs, it’s all the local stuff. I definitely prefer the places with
linoleum in them. In fact most professional chefs don’t want fancy
food, they want a greasy burger or a piece of pizza at the end of a
night creating gourmet food.”
It should be noted that in the Big Island’s plantation culture
“late” has a different meaning. Café 100 closes at 8 p.m., but
Merriman’s other favorite, Kuhio Grill, home of the one-pound
laulau and locally famous fried rice, closes at 10 p.m. during the
week and midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Maui picks up the speed a little at Sansei, where chef D.K.
Kodama’s specialty sushi is served until 1 a.m. on karaoke
Not surprisingly, Oahu is the place to be hungry after hours.
With 900,000 people and 4.5 million tourists a year, all of them on
different schedules, Oahu can feed you a dozen different ways after
Side Street Inn is “the ultimate place in the state,” as
Merriman put it, for local celebrity chefs to hang out after they
close up their own places. With pupus like pesto ahi, crispy fried
pork chops and what may be the best fried rice in the city served
until around 12:30 a.m. it’s a natural.
James Beard-award-winning Chef Mavro has been seen after hours
at Izakaya Nonbei, a Japanese tapas bar decorated like a country
inn where you can get tantalizing little plates of crackly baby
shrimp and grilled squid until midnight (last order 11 p.m.). If
you’re after the hot stuff, Sorabol serves hearty Korean fare like
bi bim bap, scallion pancakes and fiery seafood stews 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. (Sweet dreams with this one!)
For breakfast before you’ve even gone to bed (think back to
college) the list goes on and on; however, favorites include the
Waikiki landmark Eggs n’ Things, where the line is long for a
reason. This place doesn’t even open until 11 p.m. Once inside,
sidle up to delicious spinach omelettes, heaping plates of poached
eggs and Portuguese sausage, and the restaurant’s tour de force:
fluffy pancakes accompanied by coconut syrup. Around the corner is
Wailana Coffee House, a blue-plate-special kind of place where the
waitresses in beehives will bring you all the greasy eggs and ham
you want 24 hours a day.
Waimea, Big Island
Side Street Inn
Eggs n’ Things
Wailana Coffee House