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Born and raised on the Leeward Coast, Couch is an ambassador of
this part of Oahu most visitors never discover.
“The West Side isn’t so known by tourists,” said Couch. “Not to
offend other places, but I think it’s the most beautiful area on
the island. It has these beautiful white sandy beaches and deep
blue ocean since the water dips off faster there.”
Describing his roots as deeply planted in “God’s Country,” Couch
recalls waking up at 4 a.m. to fish with bait he’d caught the night
“I still do that today,” he said. “I bought a house half way
between where I work in Waikiki and where I grew up in Nanakuli. So
I still get up before sunrise and fish for ulua at Pokai Bay or the
Aside from catching fish, Couch recommends catching a Leeward
sunset at Makua Beach.
“Anywhere on the West Side is great for a sunset especially the
beaches at Yokohama and Makaha,” he said.
While choices are somewhat limited for a great West Side plate
lunch, the effort offers a delicious pay-off.
“I head to L&L drive in and Makaha Drive In. These are my
favorites and they’re very local,” Couch said. “I suggest buying a
plate lunch ‘to go’ and taking it to the beach.”
For a more upscale dining experience, he heads to the Hawaiian
fusion restaurant Roy’s at Ko Olina Resort.
“There’s nowhere else like Roy’s,” said Couch.
For a different kind of local flavor, Couch advises visitors to
stop at the Makaha Marketplace.
“Coronets was an old store that they’ve closed,” said Couch.
“And now they’ve put in Makaha Marketplace with little Hawaiian
shops where local people sell their crafts. It’s a great way to
find authentic Hawaiian products.”
He also praises the Paradise Cove Luau at Ko Olina Resort.
“It’s a great show with very friendly people. I always take my
friends there when they come to town,” he said.
When he’s on the road, Couch misses Hawaii’s aloha spirit. He
also misses the late Don Ho.
“When I was a drummer with a band called the Aliis, Don
encouraged me to get up front and sing,” Couch remembered. “If he
hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He was the most
unbiased, influential person I’ve every worked for.”
Couch’s simple advice for Oahu visitors wanting to witness the
West Side’s beauty is to head straight to Yokohama and work their
“Start with the beautiful white beaches out there,” he said.
“Let your eyes catch the mountains, valleys and deep blue ocean. If
someone feels they need a local escort, they can come to my show
and let me know. I’ll take them! It’s my country!”
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
85-080 Waianae Valley Rd.
Makaha Beach Park, Pokai Bay Beach Park,
Makua Beach and Yokohama Bay
Makaha Drive In
84-1150 Farrington Hwy.
84-1170 Farrington Hwy.
Paradise Cove Luau
Ko Olina Resort
Roy’s Ko Olina
Ko Olina Resort