By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

In 1988 since KCC had moved from Pensacola Street, Ka ʻIkena Lauaʻe has been in operation for about 28 years. It stands for “many minds striving toward the vision,” which reflects on what Ka ʻIkena is really about.


Mariah Hirata (left) and Courtney Ishikawa are 3rd-year students working in the Ka ‘Ikena restaurant. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

“The Ka ʻIkena is actually a culinary lab that’s part of a class and is part of three different classes,” said Ronald Takahashi, a professor and the department chair of Culinary Arts. “… The operational days are based upon class schedules; it’s a classroom first and then a restaurant second.”

Often there are times where customers may complain about the operating times of Ka ʻIkena, questioning why they are sometimes operating one week and suddenly closed the next.

“That’s because we are have to focus on the students,” Takahashi said. “It’s a class focused situation.” 

Students who take up this course to work in Ka ʻIkena attend an eight-week back-to-back class schedule rather than a full semester course. A typical scenario for this type of schedule would be that during the students’ first two weeks, they would be in instructional training. The following five weeks would be spent on operating the restaurant, and the last week would be spent on midterms and finals.


Gingerbread houses are displayed in the corner of Ka ‘Ikena decorating the room for the holidays approaching. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

Ka ʻIkena allows reservations up to one month in advance. Customers are able to do a walk in, online, or over the phone. The restaurant is open for four weeks according to the class schedules for the semester. To make a reservation for online and walk in’s, lunch reservations can be made at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12 p.m.; dinner reservations at 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m., and 6 p.m. The reservation line is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The restaurant has two different menus to which they refer to as their AM and PM menus. The AM menu is continental cuisine, primarily Western dishes, that are European, Italian, and much more. The PM menu is more Asian-Pacific based. Banquets and catering are available to customers.

“Our mission is to provide a laboratory for the students to be able to produce the highest quality of food,” Takahashi said, “… blending the aspects of traditional Western cuisines and Asian Pacific cuisines is what we focus on.”

For more information about Ka ʻIkena Lauaʻe, contact (808) 734-9484 or visit

To make a reservation, visit or call (808) 734-9499.