South Kauai’s Newest Gathering Place

The plantation-style Kukuiula Village offers shops, restaurants and culture

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Kukuiula Village

2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka
Koloa, Hawaii


Courtyard of Kukuiula Village on Kauai // (c) 2010

Courtyard of Kukuiula Village on Kauai
// (c) Kukuiula Village

Kukuiula Village, a new shopping and dining center on Kauai’s south shore, may not be fully open, but locals and visitors appear to have discovered it already. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I strolled through the pedestrian-friendly complex, which was surrounded by scores of patrons of all ages.

Far removed from the typical mall experience, Kukuiula Village presents 10 individual structures linked by walkways and courtyards enhanced by tropical landscaping. Calling on the Hawaiian plantation style of architecture, its attractive two-story buildings are either green or pale yellow, and all have deep sloping roofs, spacious lanais (porches), French-style doors and white-trimmed multi-pane windows.

Kukuiula Village spokesperson Veronica Lovesy said the design was influenced by the island’s rich history, calling it “reminiscent of a quaint sugar cane town of old Kauai.” That’s only fitting, since Kukuiula Village is located near old Koloa town, the home of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation, established in 1835.

Dining and Cultural Options
During my visit, most of Kukuiula Village’s patrons were gathered at its eateries, and many were taking advantage of the nice weather by sitting at tables outside. Particularly popular spots were Bubba’s Burgers, Living Foods Cafe, Dude Dogs, Lappert’s Ice Cream and Coffee, and Merriman’s Downstairs Cafe. In the evenings, famed chef Peter Merriman is drawing attention with his more formal Merriman’s Kauai restaurant, located above the cafe.

More dining rooms are slated to open at the village this year, including Josselin’s Tapas Bar and Grill, the brainchild of island chef Jean-Marie Josselin; Uncle’s Shave Ice and Smoothies; and Tortilla Republic Grill and Margarita Lounge.

During my visit to Kukuiula Village, I noticed quite a few families and older visitors enjoying the cultural offerings offered at the complex. On Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., clients can take part in crafts such as lei-stringing, followed by hula performances from 1 to 2 p.m. Every Monday and Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m., visitors can listen to live Hawaiian and contemporary music. All activities take place near the lantern tree by Merriman’s.

Shops Aplenty
Clearly, Kukuiula Village is a work in progress, with some of its buildings awaiting tenants. Still, clients who visit it now will discover an attractive range of retailers with open doors, including Bikini Planet, Bungalow Nine, Bead Delicious, James Hoyle Gallery, Gallerie 103, Gallerie Plus, Palm Palm, Ocean Opulent Jewelry, Scott Hanft Photography, Sunglass Hut and Quiksilver. Relax by Tommy Bahama is slated to open this summer.

One of Kukuiula Village’s most impressive stores is the Living Foods Market, which sells organic and locally-grown produce in a 5,000-square-foot space. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, it offers a selection of gourmet goods, eco-friendly household and lifestyle items, and an extensive wine selection with an emphasis on organic varietals. It’s one of many alluring reasons for your clients to spend some time at south Kauai’s newest hub.


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