Recently we had guests asking what good eats are easily accessible near the Honolulu International Airport. Come to think of it, I bet that’s a common question and topic discussed among most of the visitors coming to Hawaii for the first time. For most vacationers, their destination is towards Waikiki. A road commonly traveled from the airport to the Waikiki hotels is Nimitz Highway. A few miles going East bound on Nimitz towards Waikiki is a newly-opened restaurant called Liliha Bakery (location opened in June of 2014). Liliha Bakery has a long and rich history in Hawaii as a favorite local diner and bakery. Their bakery boasts island-famous coco puff pastries. Their diner has an assortment of local homestyle meals that leave all visitors satisfied.
The location on Nimitz Highway is their second location. The original location is still open for operation, but is way smaller in comparison to the new location because it has very limited counter seating in an old-fashioned diner setting. That location is located on Liliha Street. The Nimitz location has a lot more parking and has a lot of seating for big families. This restaurant is a great first stop to cure any hungry stomachs coming off of a long flight to the islands.
Here is an excerpt taken from Liliha Bakery’s website:
In 1950, Roy and Koo Takakuwa opened a tiny retail outlet at 1703 Liliha Street selling Roy’s loaves of bread. The popularity of his baked goods outgrew the little store, and in 1961, the Takakuwa’s moved to Kuakini Street, but kept the Liliha name.
Over the years, Liliha Bakery became an integral part of the community. Kids would stop on their way home from school and dig out coins for a glazed doughnut. Old friends would meet for a cup of coffee at the counter. Aunties would pick up a dobash cake for the family potluck. Some patrons have been coming to the bakery for decades, and staff members have watched families grow and change over the years. The Takakuwas provided its employees with a family work environment. Some staff members have served 20, 30 and 40 years and have been instrumental in helping the business find its special place as a landmark bakery.
Thirty-five years after founding the bakery, Roy died in 1985. His son, William, took over the business, and Koo oversaw the company’s finances till she retired in the early 1990s.
Finding Liliha Bakery from the airport en route to Waikiki is quite simple! Just hop onto Nimitz Highway heading Eastbound (Honolulu/Waikiki) when you leave the airport. Take Nimitz Highway for about 3-4 miles and you will see all the piers on your right. You will notice Nimitz Highway start to follow a long bend to the left and also where opposite traffic lanes start to split with a median in the middle. After the long bend, you will see Liliha Bakery on the left in the median. The driveway is a bit vague, but it is right before the “Montgomery Motors” sign on the left.
For a map reference go to:
Hours of Operation
DAILY 6am to 10pm (last seating) for the Coffee Shop and 12am for the Bakery.