By Judy Tsuei
Erron DePew and Lihue Lopez banter back and forth, laughing about their exciting adventures since opening The Green Pig food truck across Kealia Beach last September.
Sitting beside each other, the afternoon sun warming the green painted picnic table we’re sharing, it’s obvious their partnership goes much deeper than simply business.
“We’re all about food — we talk about it all the time!” Erron shares, as Lihue smiles in total agreement.
The Green Pig sources local ingredients as much as possible, picking produce from farmers’ markets, and using only Kaua‘i-raised beef. With a smoker and a commissary kitchen in a permanent building in the back, The Green Pig features everything from salads to sandwiches to local plates.
Lihue and Erron met through the magic Kaua‘i often creates, where serendipity and luck favor the prepared.
Lihue and her husband, Joe Lopez, had the land where The Green Pig is parked. The land is actually in their family for seven generations. Having built a successful catering business for years, the couple wanted to do more. So, they began to look for additional opportunities.
That’s where Erron and her husband, Jake DePew, came into play.
As professional chefs in Dallas, Texas, Erron and Jake also wanted to make a move. First, it was to the Garden Isle. From there, they were introduced to Lihue and Joe through an extended family member who had a hunch everyone would get along.
The rest, one could say, became deliciousness in the making.
“Jake is obsessed with pigs and pork, so we already had the logo with the pig picked out,” Erron said. “We wanted to make it a little healthier and draw in Kaua‘i, which is where the ‘green’ part of the name came from.”
The “Jacon” is a must-try. A simple sign on the food truck window reveals: “Chef Jake cures & smokes our OWN Bacon… He named it “Jacon”! (pronounced Like Bacon with a “J”).
Jacon is available on mouth-watering and perfectly messy Pig-a-Holic Sandwich, a pork tenderloin cutlet topped with BBQ-pulled pork and Jacon. If pork is not your preference, the Chicken Fried Chicken Sandwich is just as ono.
Blending real Southern hospitality with Hawaiian aloha, the foursome wholeheartedly believes in sustainability on all levels. It starts with building community.
“We serve our food on real plates, because it encourages our customers to come back up to the window and then we get to chat with them, see what they liked, and learn about who they are,” Erron said.
Lihue said their menu used to be much bigger than it is now, and for a food truck, it’s still pretty extensive.
“We get recommendations from customers all the time about what they’d like to see, so we’re constantly playing around with ideas,” she said.
Given that The Green Pig has 5-Star Yelp reviews, happy taste buds everywhere have mouths talking.
To encourage families to connect, play and please their palates, there’ll soon be a water park on the large property. Joe also offers surf lessons with pre-packed Green Pig lunches, so locals and visitors can truly enjoy their experiences on both land and sea.
The crew love being busy, especially when attending festivals and events. In a tight space, they operate under a close-knit ‘ohana dynamic to keep things working.
“We love working hard. We love talking food. We love eating. And, we give each other high fives in the middle of everything,” Erron said.
Best of all, there are little “piglet” trucks in the making, and more catering options to come.
The Green Pig is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 212.5768 for more information on catering or specials.
- Judy Tsuei is a writer, holistic coach and yoga teacher living on Kaua‘i, and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.