Hilo: Paul's Place Cafe

There’s a great, little hidden find of a cafe you need to check out on your next trip.

That is, if you like the idea of a charming little hideaway with just three or four tables (depending upon the time of the day,) one that serves fresh, island food, the likes of which you’ve probably never seen.

It’s called Paul’s Place Cafe, and it’s a quirky little eatery, tucked in the front lobby of the Pakalana Inn in Hilo and directly behind the Hilo Farmer’s Market.

That would be the one Paul slips away to periodically during the day, to pick up fresh ingredients for customers.

Hilo, you’ll recall, is on the lush, green side of the Big Island, the island that’s so big, it could fit Maui, Kauai, Oahu and all the other islands, and then some.

But back to Paul’s.

The cafe is in the heart of downtown Hilo, a block off Ali Drive.  Classical music, not Hawaiian folk songs, Slack-key or steel guitar play from the radio. There’s no industrial stoves in the kitchen.

Paul Cubio does it all on just a fridge, hot plate, toaster, cutting board and waffle iron.

He serves a higher end food that you’re likely to find at any other Hawaiian restaurant of this size. Fish, fresh vegetables and some cheese, mostly from the Farmer’s Market, the local sea or the KTA food store down the street.

Paul likes it that way. He sees the place as a more intimate way to serve friends, as opposed to a crowd.

Paul’s (132 Punahoa St, Hilo) is open Tuesday through Saturday, and the big “market” days for the Farmer’s Market, when some 200 vendors arrive to show off their best, are Wednesday and Saturday. You can find Paul on Instagram, @paulsplacecafe

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