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Donʻt Worry, Eat Happy: Hakuna Banana

Photo by Frolic Hawaii

Photo by Yelp user H Q.

 


Hakuna Banana located on the second floor of the Ward Center Whole Foods Market

Hours of operation: 11:00am-7:00pm

TLDR: A delicious non-dairy, plant-based, banana soft serve made with real fruit and no refined sugars.

Current flavors: Banilla, Matcha

Toppings: banana chips, sprinkles, li hing mui, candy sugar, and shredded coconut

Ever since Whole Foods Market opened in Kakaʻako, the store has become a focal point for shopping and leisure in the Ward Village area. While exploring what the new store had to offer, I discovered Hakuna Banana and was immediately attracted to the bright pink sign with bananas patterned all over it. One of my favorite things to do with bananas that are a little too ripe is to mash them up in a bowl and stick them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Intrigued by their fun graphics and reminded of my favorite homemade dessert, I decided to buy a cup. I opted for the original Banilla flavor and added banana chips and coconut on top. Each bite was a dream; not too sweet and none of that artificial banana flavor. The coconut milk offered creaminess without making it too heavy.

Hakuna Banana offers a healthier alternative to ice cream without compromising deliciousness. Aptly,  their name is inspired by the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata,” which roughly translates into “no worries”. Located on the second floor of the Ward Center Whole Foods Market, this small soft serve stand will leave a big impression on your tastebuds. They currently offer two flavors – Banilla, their original vanilla banana combination, and matcha, a flavor unique to Hawaii.. Made with all natural ingredients (bananas, dates, and coconuts make the base of the two flavors), even the most health conscious person can feel good about enjoying a cup. All of Hakuna Bananaʻs products are vegan, paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, and corn-free, so people with dietary restrictions can savor the sweet, creamy treats worry-free. If you find yourself craving something sweet that will leave you feeling surprisingly refreshed, head over to Hakuna Banana and you will not be disappointed.

388 Kamakee St. (second floor of Whole Foods Market Ward), Open Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

 

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BoxLunch Vendor: Laverne’s Lunch Wagon

BoxLunch is a lunchtime series featuring food vendors in the BoxJelly storefront from 11am – 3pm. Click here for the list of schedules. Laverne’s will be at BoxLunch Monday’s.
 

LavernesTruckRene Paulo first opened Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering in Waipahu over 10 years ago. Rene’s son Travis manages the lunch wagon (now operating for over 5 years) and catering services, with Rene and Laverne cooking all the food. You may have seen Laverne’s at the last luau, birthday, wedding or graduation party you went to; the month of June alone, they served over 7,000 people.

Laverne's manager Travis Paulo (left) and Brandon.

Laverne’s manager Travis Paulo (left), and Brandon.

Although they are phasing out the restaurant, you may see them soon at your grocery store. Within the next year, Travis is looking to package their squid luau and smoked meat, and bottle their sauces. “A lot of people from the mainland ask us to box it up and ship [the squid luau] to them, so we thought it would be a good idea to expand into the retail sector.” As a graduate of University of Las Vegas who studied Finance, Travis brought his skills back home and contributes his knowledge towards building the family business. With Rene’s recipes and Travis’s finance skills, we can look forward to sharing in many more memories with Laverne’s.

Interview with Rene Paulo, owner of Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering:

The mahi plate - mini.

The (mini) Mahi plate – a favorite among many.

How did your concept come about?
I used to work for the state, Department of Education. I worked in food service, first as a cook, then a manager, and operated cafeterias. Then I decided to start my own restaurant back in November 2000.

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The Teriyaki Chicken plate – mini (with sauce on da rice!)

What are some of the biggest/most unexpected challenges you face?
Getting good workers. Besides doing the food, it’s finding good, dependable workers. We are pretty well established as far as catering, but the success of your business depends on the kind of workers you have.

BoxJelly members, cruising on Kamani!

BoxJelly members Jo Anne, Danni, & Chelsea, cruising Kamani St. with Laverne’s!

What are the most rewarding aspects of your business?
Just hearing the comments from people. That’s the highest compliment I can get – “Oh your food is so good!”, or “Your smoked meat is the best!” In restaurants, the bottom line is your food. If you have great service but bad food, great spices but bad food, then you really don’t have anything.

 

Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering
808-678-1678
facebook-16Laverne’s Restaurant and Catering
instagram-16 laverne’s_catering
twitter-16@laverneswagon
Monday’s: BoxLunch (307 Kamani Street)
Wednesday’s & Thurdays.: Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa, Engineering Building
Friday’s: Oceanic Cable Mililani Tech. Park
Mon. – Fri.: Campbell Industrial Park
Events: Eat the Street, the Food and New Products Show

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