Oh, a good day today. Ken’s House Of Pancakes is a landmark here in Hilo, an institution that stays open 24 hours a day, and everybody loves the food, the portions, the local specialties, and the loco moco.
Loco moco is a sizable bowl of rice with a hamburger patty (traditionally), covered with gravy, and then two eggs on top. Several folks today refer to it as a breakfast of champions! There are now many variations, replacing the hamburger patty with things like corned beef hash, Portuguese sausage, mahi mahi, even chili and cheese!
Our guides on this story are Beverly and James Rubio who live here in Hilo. Together they run a wonderful wedding photo business here on the big island of Hawaii, but James also has a fun and frank food blog about local food and restaurants. It’s called “Big Island Grinds.”
I found him through that blog where he’d written with some passion and clarity about loco moco. He tells me today that when he started, he thought the blog would be only about loco moco, but then he decided to keep the blog lively and smart, and he’d allow himself to cover a bigger variety of eateries and dishes.
We do several interviews, including one with Carlene, a busy and saucy server who’s been working at Ken’s for 15 years. She must have started when she was ten years old! Here she is ready to serve up some of the place’s namesake pancakes. They’re probably banana pancakes.
All the folks at Ken’s couldn’t have been kinder and more cooperative. We had to ask them to turn off their music for the day, and when you eliminate some regular part of the scene like that, it feels odd and empty for a while, but then its absence is not a big factor. Everybody keeps eating.