Something new: Kono’s Honolulu

During my time living in San Diego, I had more than my fair share of succulent pulled pork. Now that I’m back in Hawaii, the cravings kick in from time to time.

Friends would rave to me about their feasts at Kono’s, known for smoky, flavorful kalua pork, but since it’s in Haleiwa I had yet to go. So you can just imagine my excitement at discovering that Kono’s opened a second location two weeks ago on Kapahulu Avenue. To say that I was drooling in anticipation would be an understatement.

Kono’s is located on the left of Leonard’s. Small parking lot with seven stalls is available right around the corner; street parking also available.

Kono’s is to the left of Leonard’s. A small parking lot around the corner has seven stalls; otherwise street parking also available.

As soon as you walk in, you’ll see the Tattoo Corner — a wall where people who get the official Surfing Pig logo tattooed somewhere on their body are honored and given a Kono’s 25 percent discount for life.

The Tattoo Corner already boasts two photos.

The Tattoo Corner already boasts two photos.

Kono’s cooks its signature kalua pork for more than 15 hours in Haleiwa and delivers it to Kapahulu, where breakfast and lunch are served all day. The menu is much the same as Haleiwa’s: wraps, sandwiches and an extended milkshake selection – close to a dozen options, to be exact.

Signature items include Chuns, one of the most popular breakfast bombers — which is a catchier way of saying breakfast burrito. Chuns’ juicy pork and thick chunks of bacon, together with the other savory burrito elements, epitomize hog heaven. The seasoned potatoes and strings of melted Jack and cheddar cheeses blend with all that meat, and I relish every bite.

Chuns Breakfast Bomber ($7.99) comes loaded with 12-hour smoked pulled pork and bacon bits. The juicy pork and thick chunks of bacon, combined with the other savory burrito elements, epitomize hog heaven.

Chuns Breakfast Bomber ($7.99) comes loaded with 12-hour smoked pulled pork and bacon bits.

If you want something meatier (pun intended), go for the signature Old School Sandwich ($9.29), another popular item. It comes filled with 12-hour pulled pork, homemade guava BBQ sauce, grilled onions and slaw on a toasted French roll and is served with Maui potato chips. I love all the elements, especially that guava sauce, and the French roll is fresh, crispy and not overdone.

The tender, juicy pulled pork is balanced perfectly by the slightly sweet BBQ sauce. The grilled onions and slaw both add welcomed texture and crunch to round out the meal.

The tender, juicy pulled pork is balanced perfectly by the slightly sweet BBQ sauce. Grilled onions and slaw add welcome crunch.

The Smoked Turkey Ranch Club ($9) is tasty, but not my favorite item. Let’s be real, if you’re going to Kono’s, you gotta have that famous pulled pork.

This club-sandwich-meets-tortilla-wrap comprised local greens, tomatoes, cheese, bacon and ranch. The fresh greens and ranch made the wrap refreshing, while the generous chunks of tomatoes, bacon and thinly sliced turkey gave it substance.

This club-sandwich-meets-tortilla-wrap has local greens, tomatoes, cheese, bacon and ranch.

Be sure to save room for dessert, specifically the Mud Pie ($6.50). After just one sip I’m hooked: The homemade milkshake is all coffee and caramel with chewy OREO cookie chunks — thick, rich and creamy but not ridiculously large, so there’s no guilt trip. The chocolate walls satisfy my sweet tooth even more.

Kono’s Mud Pie features a blended harmony of vanilla macadamia coffee, OREOs and caramel. Coffee and caramel pervade every sip, with cookie chunks interspersed throughout.

Kono’s Mud Pie features a blended harmony of vanilla macadamia coffee, OREOs and caramel.

Kono’s Honolulu is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Be sure to check out the takeout menu for discounts and follow Kono’s Instagram for promos (when I went, you could score 10 percent off any purchase of $15 or more). Takeout is popular, but there are a few tables and countertop seating so you can chow down while watching the Kapahulu traffic crawl by.

So how does Kono’s stack up to my memories of awesome pulled pork BBQ in SoCal? Suffice it to say that anytime I’m craving the legit stuff, I know exactly where to make a pit stop.

Kono’s Honolulu
945 Kapahulu Ave.
892-1088
Open daily, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.