Mana Ohana opens!

SUBHEAD: A new business in Hanapepe points to the future.

By Juan Wilson on 14 April 2009 for Island Breath -  

Image above: Porch off old banquet room, soon to be reopened by Mana Ohana. Photo by Juan Wilson

It was called the Green Garden Restaurant. It was mauka of the highway in Hanapepe on the east side of the river. The restaurant was started by the Hamabata family in 1948. I first saw it in 1971 when it was a very busy place. It seemed every tour bus that came coasting down into the valley, after a visit to Ola Pua Gardens up in Kalaheo, would stop at the Green Garden for lunch. Back then the Green Garden had the best lilikoi chiffon pie on Kauai. People would drive out from Lihue and Kapaa to sample it. The last time I ate there it was a sad place.

The large staff wore their beautiful green cotton dress uniforms decorated with a silkscreened fern frond, but the place was almost empty. The buses were not coming anymore and the only regular locals were the members of the Lions Club who met on Wednesday nights. The Hamabata family just could not continue the same old business. For several years the Green Garden sat empty and quiet. Not so any more. It is flickering back to life as Mana Ohana.

Evan and Lauren Meek have begun the first modest phase of a revitalization of the sprawling facility as a community owned organic health food store and restaurant. Their plans are ambitious.

Image above: Temporary new sign of Mana Ohana over the store entrance. Photo by Juan Wilson

The Meeks plan is to operate their business in partnership with the community. They say the project initially began over 3 years ago, and is now finally open for business (Monday thru Saturday 10am - 5pm). The first phase has only opened a fraction of the whole facility for the sale of local produce, but more will be happening soon.  
"Mana `Ohana is one solution in the ever growing debate over how to promote local food sustainability. There is enough space, along with all of the needed tools to allow local people to start providing most of the food products we currently import for both commercial and consumer purposes on Kauai."  
The Meeks are encouraging everyone to offer them produce. As a resident of Hanapepe Valley I hope to supply a small amount of fruit and eggs to Mana Ohana. If all goes well people on the westside won't have to jump in a car and drive halfway around the island simply to get healthy food. To contact the Meeks try:

Mana `Ohana, LLC
PO Box #241 Hanapepe, HI 96716
Evan Meek (808) 346-2395
Lauren Shaw Meek (808) 346-2396

 Or learn more about their plans visit the website at:


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