Acknowledged as the first to add the phrase “poke bowl” to a casual-dining menu, Paina Cafe expanded from Honolulu to the Ninth Island four years ago and started work on joining a rapidly growing restaurant hub in the southwest.
Also known as Pā´ina Café, from the Hawaiian word for a “gathering” of friends and family, the original counter-service space at Spring Mountain Road’s Korea Town Plaza has earned a very loyal following for its create-you-own poke bowls, plate lunches, value dining, and a breakout hit of mochi doughnut desserts.
The cafe is now expanding to the intersection of Decatur Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road, taking over space B125 inside a brand new structure that will also be home to a second Bella Vita Italian restaurant, a District at Green Valley Ranch tenant since 2015.
Yet to announce an estimated debut date, or reveal the new location, Paina Cafe’s Chinatown outpost is open daily for lunch and dinner, and accepting online orders for takeout.
Diners can customize bowls with ingredients including spicy tuna, salmon, tofu, taro, and Hawaiian-style ahi poke, upgraded with sides of Asian slaw and more than 25 toppings, plus the option of bowls created with teriyaki steak, Hawaiian beef, Kalua pig, and chicken katsu.
The mochi doughnuts are available in full and mini sizes, featuring a revolving roster of flavors including black sesame, taro, guava, strawberry, a brioche crunch, and the googly-eyed cookie monster.