It’s pretty crazy to think that this time last year, we didn’t have a single food hall (a modern take on the food court) in Waikiki, and today there are three! The new kid on the block, Dukes Lane Market & Eatery, opened on July 5 to crowds of tourists and locals curious to get a taste of ABC Stores’ new venture.
Dukes Lane packs a lot into the ground floor of the new Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. There are eight different concepts ranging from an artisan bakery to a gourmet grocery and even a raw bar. There’s even a 150-seat restaurant, Basalt, which I did NOT try – that deserves a post of its own.
Despite my propensity to eat nearly everything in sight, it’s tough to sum up this spot in one go. From my visits, these are the top five tastiest things I’ve had at Dukes Lane.
No. 5: Sommelier-recommended wine pairings
I’m not a wine snob by any means, but I do enjoy the Jesus juice once in a while. Sometimes after a long day at work, other times it’s with my burger at lunch. One of the fun parts of having a sommelier in the house is that you can ask them to recommend pairings for your meal.
Sang Mun, Basalt’s in-house somm, will be sitting for his master sommelier qualification, so you know you’re in good hands. After asking him to pair a wine with our burgers, he let us select from a few we were able to sample before settling on a very fun and light 2015 gamay called Raisins Gaulois from Domaine Marcel Lapierre in Beaujolais, France. It reminded me so much of dried plums and cherries, almost on the verge of prune mui.
No. 4: Lamb burger at Ono’s Burger
Trust me when I tell you that I’ve seen buns of all colors and sizes. I’ve eaten many burgers, hello. This activated charcoal-infused brioche bun is certainly more of a looker – the black stuff does little to the taste. However, the za’atar-spiced Makaweli Ranch lamb patty and the creamy za’atar aioli are a perfect match and have more than enough flavor to go around. The juicy local tomatoes and crisp lettuce are a nice touch as well. For $17, you’re getting something uniquely local with an exciting flavor palette that’s anything but local.
No. 3: Filipino Cubano sandwich at Island Gourmet Coffee
This was a pleasant surprise. Executive Chef Kelly Degala is a Kalihi boy with 20-plus years in top West Coast kitchens. Like a vivid scene from Lion King, his personal Filipino inspiration is in all the light touches — pan de sal burger buns, chicharrones on a flatbread pizza.
The Filipino Cubano, found in the pastry case at the coffee bar, is one sandwich I wouldn’t regret eating twice in one day. There’s sweet tocino pork from the Spitfire rotisserie across the way, along with ham, stone-ground mustard, sauteed greens, oil and provolone cheese on a fresh baguette made in-house. Although it’s a bit hard to bite into at first, you’re rewarded with a juicy and hearty handheld lunch. At $12, it’s the most expensive item in the case, but it’s worth it.
Tip: Go before 10 a.m. for the fresh fried daily donut special. They’re only a dollar apiece and pack well in a box for the office. *Hint hint*
No. 2: Donut of the Day: Mochi lilikoi and coconut
Do you love donuts? Oh, you’re not sure? Well, here’s a test to find out: Get to Dukes Lane before 10 a.m. and you just might find the unicorn of donuts. Every day, the bakery fries up fresh batches at 6, 7 and 8 a.m. Until Wednesday morning, they were only a myth to me. I’d seen Instagrams of last week’s bacon Sriracha donut, and Dukes Lane staffers were talking about Saturday’s lilikoi butter mochi donut.
These donuts are always gone by noon, and with good reason. At $1, they’re reasonably priced and taste pretty great! I’ve only had the mochi lilikoi and coconut donut, but it was so good I had to bring back a dozen to the office. They’re chewy and tart, and the toasted coconut adds a nice texture. I look forward to my next donut run to Waikiki.
No. 1: Buttah Tots at Ono’s Burger Bar
When a friend ate at Ono’s, she opted for the Buttah Tots with her rather hulking burger and told me later that I should do the same. Now I see my life in two chapters: Before and After Buttah Tots.
Think silky smooth and ultra buttery mashed potatoes wrapped in a crispy fried tot shell. When you bite in, the aroma embraces you like a warm hug and then you realize they’re hot AF but you don’t care because BUTTAH TOTS. Order ’em to go at Spitfire Rotisserie for $6 or add them to your burger meal for $3. For me, they’re the perfect medium to sop up the spicy mustard sauce that comes with.
If you’re planning to drive to Dukes Lane Market & Eatery, they offer one hour of free validated parking with a $10 purchase from any register. If you stick around for the bar or to eat at Basalt, you’ll get four hours of free validated parking. The entrance to the garage is located on the Diamond Head side of Seaside Avenue at the Hyatt Centric, formerly known as Waikiki Trade Center.
Dukes Lane Market & Eatery
2255 Kuhio Ave.