Crazy for Wow Wow Lemonade

IMG_5639Remember when “Wow Wow” was best known for its waffles? The company’s Belgian street waffles may still be delicious, but right now, it’s the lemonade that’s getting all the attention.

For several months, the Maui-based vendor, now called Wow Wow Lemonade, has been drawing the craziest lines at Honolulu Night Market, Eat the Street and local farmers’ markets. Amid the raging heat, hundreds of people of all ages have been patiently waiting for these fun lemonades, served in 24 or 32-ounce Mason jars with colorful shaka and aloha stickers.

Business is so strong the owners plan to open their first brick-and-mortar storefront in Wahiawa in early August, then Haleiwa in September, and Kakaako next summer. The Wahiawa shop, located at 43 S. Kamehameha Highway, is a 700-square-foot space next to Surfers Coffee Bar.

IMG_5637So what prompted the enormous popularity of these seemingly simple drinks? Is it the heat of summer? The creative, locally sourced, handcrafted flavors like Kula strawberry lychee, mango pineapple li hing and watermelon basil? Or just the chance to show off your cool Mason jar drink on Instagram?

It’s hard to say, but maybe all of these things.

“Definitely the Mason jars; they’re in right now,” says Ashley Nomura, one of the people we spotted at last Friday’s Eat the Street waiting for the lemonade. “Plus the cap with a hole in it is so convenient. There are other places that sell lemonade in jars like this, but none of them have holes in the caps.”

IMG_5660Wow Wow Lemonade founders Todd and Chloe Casselberry and their partner Kawika Drummond started selling their handcrafted lemonades a little more than two years ago at various farmers’ markets. They’ve always tried to source as many local ingredients as possible, and they ingeniously came up with a unique lineup of flavors that take full advantage of Hawaii’s finest fruits and flavors.

The partners opened their first lemonade stand in Kahului, Maui about a year ago. As soon as they started selling the Mason jar drinks, with a straw hole pierced into the lid, they lit up on social media. Last September, when they introduced the lemonades on Oahu at places like Eat the Street and Night Market they instantly became a hit, with people eager to nab one of the coveted jars. (If you purchase one of the two $10 Mason jar lemonades, you can bring your jar back for a $5 or $6 refill.)

IMG_5655“Somehow word and photos spread quickly on Instagram throughout the islands,” Todd Casselberry said. “We honestly don’t know how it became such a craze lately, as we’ve been crafting local lemonades for a little over two years now… We’re super thankful that we have a large community that loves our lemonade now.”

Todd’s partner, Kawika, will run the Oahu stores, although Todd and his wife will continue to fly in frequently from Maui to help build the business. “We have so many favorite lemonades that we haven’t been able to feature due to space we have at markets, so we are all excited to have a store,” Todd says. “It will be a retail/kitchen space, where we will do some local bottling, and a cafe to craft several more flavors of our lemonades. It’s also a community drop off point for local fruit.”

DSC_0032The 300-square-foot Haleiwa store, next to the food truck court in the new Plantation development, will be a lemonade stand with very limited seating, but will feature a nice indoor/outdoor space with a large roll-up wall for customers to hang out, Todd said.

“We’ll continue bottling our lemonades and selling to local grocery stores, cafes and food trucks,” Todd said. “We’ll have lemonades in the Foodland Farms in Oahu in September. We still sell at our local farmer’s markets four times a week, and will continue to focus on crafting the freshest local lemonades possible, as we grow and make our product more available to the rest of Hawaii.”

Here’s a look at the Wow Wow Lemonade craze at Eat the Street:

Wow Wow Lemonade

Some of Wow Wow Lemonade's fans, including Diane Paz (far left), who says: "I think (the lemonade jars) are so popular because it's local, supporting aloha. The stickers and the Mason jars are cool."

According to Ashley Nomura, middle, it's all about the jars: "They're in right now. Plus the cap with a hole in it is so convenient. There are other places that sell lemonade in jars like this, but none of them have holes in the caps."

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Wow Wow Lemonade (and waffles)
wowwowlemonade.com
Regularly at Eat the Street, Honolulu Night Market, Pearlridge Farmers’ Market, Kailua Town Farmers’ Market and Waimea Farmers’ Market on Oahu; and in Maui at 1st Friday, Wailuku, 4th Friday, Kihei, and at UHMCC Market in Kahului.

Lemonade stands
43 S. Kamehameha Highway in Wahiawa
415 Dairy Road in Kahului
1279 S. Kihei Road in Kihei

Party pics: Sushi & Naked Sake

National Dance Week Hawaii (Sept. 29-Oct. 6) teamed up with Bar 35 and Loading Zone Arts to throw a party with sushi, sake and a special Samurai Pizza made just for the event. For the price of a ticket, attendees got a card with coupons for five sake samples, and a virtually unlimited sushi bar, with delicious hand rolls and nigiri. There were also body-painted servers and a table where anyone could make their own Japanese-style prints.

Sushi & Naked Sake

Sushi & Naked Sake

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Fresh Cafe Downtown Friends & Family Launch

Fresh Cafe Downtown has been open for a couple months now, but the kinks are still being worked out, and since its opening, there has been a lot of uncertainty as far as regular hours, food and drink offerings. We got an invite to the pre-launch party for friends, family and media to check out the food and drinks, and found them creative, original and surprisingly diverse. Take a look, and then try them for yourself at Fresh Cafe Downtown’s Grand Opening, next week Thursday, July 24.

 

Fresh Cafe Downtown's Soft Opening

Thursday's "friends, family and media" soft opening at Fresh Cafe Downtown showcased everything that's been worked on as far as new food and drinks. Although there was a mixup and things kicked off a half an hour late, all was forgiven as soon as we came to the cocktail samples.

According to bartender Hale, who also tends bar at Disney Aulani, all the bartenders had a hand in designing the drink menu, bringing their diverse experience in the liquor industry to the table to create a menu that is both unique and very, very tasty. Look for a lot of house-made syrups, infused liquors and unusual combinations. A favorite? The Pear & Peach (pink colored one in front). It's smooth, perfectly balanced, fruity without being too sweet, and refreshing on a hot day.

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Fresh Cafe Downtown
1111 Nuuanu Ave.
(808) 953-7374
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
4-10 p.m.
Open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for special events


 

Party pics: Carnevil Masquerade Ball

AMP Industries, a new promotion company, threw a masquerade-themed party at The Fix Saturday night, with house music DJs, aerialists, a magician, clowns and masked attendees mingling. Although there were masks at the door for any who forgot theirs, most people rose to the occasion with an impressive variety of beautiful masks.

 

Carnevil Masquerade Ball

Carnevil Masquerade Ball

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Party pics: Russell Tanoue’s Birthday @ Buho

Promotions veteran, philanthropist and well-known local glam photographer Russell Tanoue hosted a more intimate birthday party at the new Buho de Cocina y Cantina in Waikiki Wednesday evening. Friends from all corners of the island dressed up and came to relax with Russell in the classy setting. It was a more relaxed affair than in years past, with no scheduled entertainment and no theme; just free tacos and nachos, drinks and good company atop the gorgeous Waikiki Plaza rooftop venue.

Russell Tanoue's Birthday @ Buho

Russell Tanoue's Birthday @ Buho

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