In December of 06, I wrote in this blogÂ aboutÂ a short road trip from our houseÂ up the coast from us and mentioned the 50's Fountain Cafe inÂ Laupahoehoe.Â
We have returned several times since, but for some reason or another, did not take many photos of the interior.Â This time I made sure I did.Â
The following text is from a review we wrote for a twice -monthly newspaper that no longer exists, The Hawaii Island Journal, for which my son Anthony and I wrote restaurant and eateries' reviews on a rotating basis with 2 other reviewers who covered other areas of the island.Â Â The menu has been steadily expanding since our original visit.Â Prices may have changes slightly since 2006 when we first reviewed it.
FIFTIES HIGHWAY FOUNTAIN CAFE
By Sonia Martinez and Anthony Mathis
May 5, 2006 - The Hawaii Island Journal
If you are driving on Highway 19 on the Hamakua Coast and are not paying attention to what's on the sides of the road you might just miss the small sign for the 50's CafÃ© and Fountain in Laupahoehoe.
From the moment you first step inside you will feel as if you have just stepped off a time machine and are back in the Swinging 50's. The dÃ©cor, the music, the menuÂ…all contribute to the feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu.
Black and white tile floors with red and black tables, chairs and booths.Â The tables are covered with red and white checkered cloths.Â There is a big old-fashioned jukebox and jukebox record selectors on the walls at every booth.
Framed photographs of film and recording stars of the era cover all of the walls along with LP records with their album covers.Â Toys hang from the ceiling and cover every shelf.Â Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola memorabilia and placards announcing products that sold during that time for 5 cents.
The brainchild behind this return to a more innocent era was Larry Ignacio, father of owner Chris Ignacio.Â Much of the memorabilia displayed throughout was from his own collection but a lot has been added on since their opening one and half years ago from tourists that visit and end up sending them parts of their own collections.
Two back rooms were opened for use last November.Â One room honors The King, with Elvis memorabilia and posters on the wall.Â The back room is set up with a Keiki Korner with more toys and yet more memorabilia on display.
The unisex bathroom is worth a visit whether you need to make use of the facilities or not.Â Totally decorated with a Betty Boop motif, it is reached via a small foyer with a little table and chair and life size cutouts of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop and The Duke, John Wayne on the wall.
On the day we visited, Chris was in the kitchen and his wife and partner Kendra waited on us. The service was fast and very friendly.Â With the help of a couple of other people they seem to be able to manage to wait on everyone in a timely manner without any delay getting the food from order to tableÂ…. and it arrives piping hot!
Chris' mom, Carol Ignacio who is the head of the Hilo Food Bank, makes the desserts and the daily specials.Â All of the recipes are culled from the family's Portuguese heritage with many local overtones.
The menu is quite extensive beginning with the Rockin' Rollin' Favorites such as regular hamburger for $2.25 on up to a mushroom burger, Teri burgers, Blue Cheese burger, Patty Melt, Mahi filet burger, Hot Pastrami burger, BLTs, grilled cheese sandwiches and a double bacon cheeseburger for $5.95.Â Â All of their hamburgers are
made from local, naturally raised, grass-fed beef.
This section of the menu also included Boats & Things starting with a Chicken Boat for $4.25 on through a selection of a Korean Chicken Boat, Shrimp Boat, Scallop Boat, a few versions of Loco Mocos, hot dogs, chili dogs, chili cheese fries, tator tots, curly fries and onion rings.Â The Fry Basket for $4.95, includes onion rings, french
fries and tator tots.
The Oldies but Goodies section of the menu includes The Platters, served with rice or mashed potatoes and gravy, and potato/mac or tossed salad.Â The list of entrÃ©es starts off with a 10 ounce New York Sizzling Steak for $11.95 with a 6 ouncer New York Dinner Steak for $7.95.
Chili plates, Loco plates, Chopped Steak with Onions, Chicken Katsu, Fried Chicken, Korean of Teri Chicken, Pork Chops and Roast Pork, Seafood Platter or Shrimp Plates or Mahi-mahi Filets are featured. Rounding out the entrÃ©e selections is Spaghetti with Garlic Bread.
We ordered the Seafood Platter with mashed potatoes and a side order of fresh grilled sliced Hamakua grown mushrooms.Â The seafood on the platter was a selection of mahi-mahi filet, battered and fried shrimp and scallops.
Our other order was the Chicken Hekka, which was one of the day's specials, came with two scoops of white rice.Â We also ordered a side of battered fried onion rings.
Aalads of crisp lettuce, sliced cucumbers, sliced red cabbage and tomato wedges came with our orders.
The list of desserts was just too tempting to pass up and it was a tough decision to make but finally decided on the coconut pie and the peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The generous portion of pie was wonderful.Â The pastry was very flaky and the coconut filling was not too sweet or cloying.Â The cobbler was hot and the crumb topping excellent.
From the Big Breakfast consisting of two eggs, choice of meat and choice of hash browns, rice or toast and 2 buttermilk pancakes; to the Country Breakfast, Steak and Eggs, Grilled Mahi and Eggs, the Be-Bop Breakfast Menu has enough selections to please every palate.Â The choices include an assortment of omelets, Sweetbread French Toast and Breakfast Burgers as well as items that can be ordered ala Carte.
The Fountain can provide old-fashioned floats, milk shakes and malts as well as Banana Splits, sundaes and cones.Â We recommend the ice tea which you can tell is made fresh and it has no bitter after taste.
For a delightful step back in time we recommend a little detour through Laupahoehoe and a stop at the Fifties Highway Fountain.