By Anni Caporuscio
I’m an Eastside girl, and I’ve been to the Olympic Café hundreds of times. I’ve enjoyed a hearty Bloody Mary breakfast on rainy mornings. I’ve sat at the bar and read novels in the relative privacy of a loud and crowded room (yeah, I read at bars). I’ve sat in the breezy second story and traffic watched Kapa‘a’s busiest intersection. I’ve walked from working in the heart of Kapa‘a Town to meet friends for business and for fun and good old fashioned Pau Hana time.
I am happy to introduce the Olympic Café to Po‘ipū.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with owner Troy Trujillo and talking “restaurant.”
Olympic Café owner Troy Trujillo has been in the restaurant business for decades. In 1999, he moved to Kaua‘i in 1999 and bought Kapa‘a’s Olympic Café. Prior to that, he owned spots in California and on the Big Island.
Old timers know exactly where Olympic Café’s name comes from. It has nothing to do with Greece. The original Olympic Café opened in the 1940s, a time when Hawai‘i was still celebrating Duke Kahanamoku’s multiple Olympic medals from 1912 to 1924. And so that’s how the restaurant got its name, from Duke. Troy jokes Olympic Café was the original Duke’s.
Today, Olympic Café features historic pictures of old Kaua‘i, commemorating history from the Eastside, as well as pictures of regular customers who make history daily.
The Po‘ipū Olympic Café features the same elements that made the Kapa‘a restaurant famous, like the comfortable and breezy atmosphere, the history giving homage to a place, and of course, friends! While eating with us, Troy greeted friends and talked surfing, fish, business, etc.
But the South Shore location has more of a kitsch Hawaiian feel to it, with its tiki and lava rock decoration, which I think hails to history as well. Across the Po‘ipū Shopping Village breezeway, Troy built a lounge — a comfortable zone with another bar and plush chairs, and where you can get the full menu and specials.
The Po‘ipū location shares the same menu and the same set of events with the original Eastside venue: daily happy hour from 3-7 p.m., Bloody Mary Bar on Saturday and Sunday mornings, breakfast until noon (our server suggested the Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast), and Aloha Friday Taco Night, a local favorite, from 3-7 p.m.
They make all their sauces, dressings, hummus, salsas, sides, you name it; all from fresh ingredients. Most dishes were included on the menu after Troy tried it elsewhere, loved it and tried to recreate something similar or better. There are daily specials too, showcasing the chef’s creativity.
Over the years, I’ve gone through phases of what I eat. I went through a pretty serious burger phase, always coupled with the popular waffle fries. When I lightened up on the burgers, I switched to the Monte Cristo sandwich, and then on to the salad menu, each taking me a half hour to eat, they’re huge. I have always had a love for the spicy hot wings (sauce on side) and am newly introduced to the Ahi Furikake, a thick slice of fresh ahi seared and coated with furikake seasoning that has never done me wrong. All these are full plates of good hearty and balanced meals, garnished with melon or fried banana or herb sprigs.
You can find the new Olympic Café at Po‘ipū Shopping Village. Visit www.olympiccafekauai.com for more information.
- Anni Caporuscio is a food lover and can be found daily at her Kapa‘a business, Small Town Coffee.