By Anni Caporuscio
In recreational golfing, scoring a birdie — a one-under par — is kind of a big deal. But at Kukuiolono Golf Course in Kalaheo, you have a chance to feel just as special after every round of golfing. Just visit Birdie’s Café and Pub and you’ll understand.
Perched at the top of the hill in historic Kukuiolono Park and at the tee off point for the golf course, the charming, country style restaurant provides stunning ocean views, including the Forbidden Island of Ni‘ihau.
The land for the park was donated by Walter McBryde for the people of Hawai‘i to enjoy and to share the bounty and beauty of the island. Surrounded by this legacy, Ron and Mona Horoshko have perpetuated an establishment of generosity and fellowship.
Birdie’s is not your average golf pub or restaurant; it’s a gathering place for friends and community. As I sat with owner Ron, I was introduced to nearly everyone who walked in, given a handshake or a hug, and a little history of why they come to Birdie’s.
In some cases it was a daily golf crew, with cliques like the Traveler’s Den and the Mulligan Sisters. For others, it was just to have a drink with friends at the bar, or to listen to live music on weekends.
I spoke with Benny, a historian and collector who, interested in the history of Kukuiolono Park, provided enlarged photographs for the café. I learned the golf course has been many things over the years, including a horse race track and a landing strip during WWII.
But let’s get to the food. Birdie’s features a daily breakfast buffet, full of Kaua‘i favorites such as Hawaiian sweetbread French toast, Portuguese sausage, fresh island fruit, eggs and bacon. There’s even an omelette bar. And fresh warm malasadas! Sometimes, when the line to tee off is a bit long, Birdie’s will take malasadas to the golfers.
Birdie’s also serves a great lunch menu of burgers and sandwiches, the best fare for a hungry golfer or dog walker. Thick onion rings, toasty bread, generous helpings of meats and cheeses, there is nothing pretentious about these sandies. And, of course, they are named after regular customers.
For specials, Birdie’s has a good old fashioned Clam Bake everyday. Call ahead by 10 a.m. to reserve your bucket of seafood steamed with lemons and tomatoes, fabulous ocean finger food! Also, Birdie’s offers Steak and Lobster on Saturdays. Call ahead for this as well. They’ll deliver as far as the South Shore for $10. Call for Birdie’s pizza as well; take out or delivery.
I was struck by Ron’s attention to history and how he strives to honor McBryde’s vision by giving his restaurant to music events, charity, hospitality and good food. It is quite possibly the friendliest restaurant I’ve been to. It truly is “where everyone knows your name.”
Birdie’s Café and Pub is at 854 Puu Rd. Call 332-5792 or visit www.birdieskauai.com for more information.
- Anni Caporuscio is a food lover and can be found daily at her Kapa‘a business, Small Town Coffee.