By Anni Caporuscio

This is an off-menu item called The Keanu Reeves, which is two different Eggs Benedicts on the same plate. I had the Riptide: a Kalua pork Benedict, and I think it’s my first time. It’s a great Kauai twist on a traditional favorite. The salty pork pairs really well with creamy Hollandaise. And it avoids my big bennie pet-peeve: ham is hard to cut. The second is the Anuenue: a benedict with house made tomato jam, goat cheese, and a generous sprinkling of bacon bits. It’s sweet and tangy and a modern version of the bennie.

Anuenue Café is colorful and lively, and it just might be my dream café. Owners John and Michelle Adams keep a small, pristine place with shady outdoor seating in the back of Po‘ipu Shopping Village. The bright art, the short and witty menu, the cute and small tables, and the cheerful staff make this South Shore restaurant a must-go.

The café opened just a little over a year ago, and is a family-dream-come-true. John is a former private chef from O‘ahu (via Vail, Colo. and originally San Clemente, Calif.). Michelle takes care of the business side, she is a former teacher of economics and entrepreneurship. It’s a partnership that works; they tell me the café is slamming-busy with hungry people, both visitors and locals.

I would describe Anuenue Café as “surf breakfast,” like what you eat before you hit the beach. It is mainly a breakfast place, open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with only a few crossovers that can easily turn into breakfast by adding an egg, or by ordering early. “Surf breakfast” for all the great menu names, Riptide: a Hawaiian take on Eggs Benedict, Hitting Reef: a cheese, avo, pico de gallo omelet, and Shore Break: a mushroom, goat cheese frittata. “Surf Bbreakfast” because it’s a hearty meal to start a day of adventuring, and “surf breakfast” because when John is not in the kitchen, he is in the water.

The Tow-In is a thick slab of Hawaiian sweetbread French toast topped with haupia and a generous sprinkling of toasted mac nuts. It’s crispy and firm on the outside and bready and flaky on the inside. Usually served with a side of bacon or Portuguese sausage, you can also order this a la carte.

Anuenue Café is simple, good food; the product of a creative marriage of American and Kaua‘i dishes, well-presented and well-thought-out from John’s years of experience. Local farmers supply about 90 percent of the produce that go into John’s recipes for tomato jam, pico de gallo, loco moco gravy, shoyu ginger, hollandaise sauce, and the list goes on. And like every breakfast restaurant, Anuenue Café keeps a secret about its hollandaise sauce recipe.

There are also all the good breakfast foods ala carte, and no self-respecting Kaua‘i café can live without a heavily decorated açaí bowl. They also feature Anahola Granola and Kaua‘i Roastery coffee.

Future good stuff from the Adams’ is a new restaurant called Imu, to open soon at Po‘ipu Athletic Club. It will be an upscale BBQ restaurant open to the general public and club members, serving lunch and dinner.

Find Anuenue Café at 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive in Koloa, in the back side of the Po‘ipu Shopping Village.

Visit for the full menu, and a peek into the photographic art of Kendall, their daughter. Get there early, the small café is cozy, and you might want to hit the beach after breakfast anyway.

  • Anni Caporuscio is a food lover and can be found daily at her Kapa‘a business, Small Town Coffee.