After spending an entire day driving only half way around the Island, we were famished! It was 9:00pm once we finally ventured into Hilo wondering if we were going to find anything decent to eat at that time of night. Lo and behold, there was Ken's. Open 24 hours. The only thing I think open 24 hours on the Big Island.
My first impression..."Oh, the Hawaiian Denny's" In a sense, yes, but still oh so different. At 9:00pm, the place was packed. I was distracted from the menu by the people watching. Talk about your mix of people. You had everything from your locals, the American tourists and tourists from everywhere else. You could hear conversations about what was going on tomorrow at work, or listen to tourists speak their own languages and try to figure out where they were from.
Favorite Dish: I couldn't decide what to order. Did I want breakfast, did I want a sandwich or burger, or did I want a whole entree. I had a hard time deciding between breakfast or dinner. The Macadamia nut pancackes were sure tempting, but I do remember going for some sort of burger or sandwich. I do remember enjoying my food.
More than I remember enjoying my food, I remember enjoying my desert even more. It was a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, macadamia nuts and a cherry. Yum!
Ask anyone in Hilo about a nice place to have breakfast, lunch or dinner and you’ll be recommended Ken’s House of Pancakes.
Although called downtown, this part of Hilo is no big party hub. There are a few restaurants, bars and grocery shops in the area, but other than that it’s just another town that goes to sleep with the dark (or drives to the Volcano NP).
Open 24 hours a day this place is always busy serving any king of food, from scrambled eggs and pancakes to Thai noodles and Italian pasta. But the macadamia nuts pancakes are really what Ken’s is known for.
Staying in a hotel just across the road I went to Ken’s several times and always enjoyed my meal whether it was pancake for breakfast, noodles for lunch, or pork for dinner.
The service is probably the best on the island and it makes customers feel very special. It is favored by both locals and tourists that don’t need a special reason to come here. Wheter you came to Ken’s for a quick bite or to celebrate a special occasion you’ll always enjoy your visit, and not because it’s about the only big diner on the island.
Make sure you come to Ken’s hungry; those famous pancakes are really gigantic.
While Ken's is open 24 hours, its most popular meal is breakfast -- appropriate for a pancake house. Unfortunately, it is loved by Hilo locals and tourists alike -- it must be in every guidebook -- so it can get packed. During my most recent visit, I twice had to find other breakfast alternatives because I couldn't find a spot in Ken's small parking lot. The third time was a charm, as we had endured torrential rains the night before and the flooding detered some would-be breakfasters.
Ken has the ambiance of a small-town diner, complete with friendly waitresses and chatty table neighbors. The menu is huge, so you'll certainly find your favorite breakfast items.
Favorite Dish: I love the omelettes, the french toast and, of course, the pancakes. I have yet to try any other meal than breakfast. I certainly haven't tried any 2 a.m. meals there! Try the tropical syrups!
We had a long day at the volcano and were quite tired and hungry. After we checked into our hotel at the Hilo Hawaiian, they informed us their restaurant was closed (we arrive after it was closed at 9pm). So we drove into Hilo and stopped at the first place that looked inviting. Glad we stopped here. The atmosphere was nice and the food was great.
Favorite Dish: We each had different dishes, but I had the simple hamburger and chocolate shake. It was great!!
Sorry, it was late at night and I didn't take any pictures of it.
After a few days of over-priced breakfasts in other restaurants, a breakfast here was such a pleasant change! The service was so friendly, the food was fabulous. A great selection of breakfast specialties made with Hawaiian fruits and syrups. Each time we went there, we noticed lots of locals eating here too, a sure sign of a great restaurant.
Favorite Dish: The banana pancakes were huge, tender, and oh so tasty! Delicious pancakes topped with fresh bananas.