Eatin' on the Dock of the Bay
Story by Dawn Southard
Photo by Terry O‘Halloran
Noguchi has wisely decided to keep the best of both worlds. The picnic tables are still there, crowded with fishermen. The deli still serves burgers—but now they’re made with grass-fed beef. And then of course there’s the fish. Every morning Noguchi tweets the catch of the day, which includes surprises like ‘o‘io (bonefish) hash for breakfast, uhu (parrotfish) fish cakes for lunch or, if you’re lucky, a massive slab of seared ‘ahi. Sure, it’s highbrow, but at $10 and under a serving, it’s still plate lunch.
And the view is still spectacular: At the tables outside, diners gaze over the sapphire waters of the harbor toward the Ko‘olau range. Inside, a picture window looks out across the reefs of Kane‘ohe Bay. But He‘eia Pier is no resort. It’s more like a commercial boatyard, its slips full of modest fishing boats and a few weather-beaten sloops. The Nisei, the last aku (skipjack tuna) boat, often ties up in front of the deli. Noguchi hasn’t abandoned that working-class pedigree. He understands that if the new He‘eia General Store & Deli is going to make it, it’s going to have to live up to its old, grubby roots.