The ordering counter at Jo Jo's Shave Ice

Synonymous with shave ice, Jo-Jo’s has become a common stop for tourists abiding by Kauai guidebooks. Yet, as some have quickly learned, the little business just doesn’t amount to all the hype; nor does it even come close to Matsumoto’s or Waiola on Oahu.

I may be partial to my Oahu eats, but my opinion only echoes dozens of other reviews online; most of which vow to never return. I wouldn’t go as far to say NEVER go to Jo-Jo’s but definitely don’t expect it to be the bomb. Honestly, the shave ice isn’t that bad, but what makes them lose my vote is the poor service. Slow and not very friendly!

There are actually two Jo-Jo locations in Waimea, about a block away from each other. I have been to both; each time wondering how such a colorful, welcoming storefront could have such a dreary, deadbeat vibe inside. Definitely not the Disneyland of shave ice stands.

Yet, both businesses seem to always be packed with customers. This could either mean, they’re first-timers who have no idea or, the service is just plain slow and force customers to wait around.

The ONE good thing about Jo-Jo’s? Their macadamia nut ice cream. If you decide to try a cup of shave ice, ask for a scoop of mac nut ice cream. It really wipes away that heat you get from waiting inside of the wooden shack and the crankiness, also from waiting.

JO-JO’S SHAVE ICE

• Kaumualii 9726 Hwy. 50, Waimea, HI 96796 • 808-635-7615

JO-JO’S SHAVE ICE ORIGINAL

• 5 Pokole Rd., Waimea, HI 96796 • Opens Mon-Th, Sun 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-630pm

1 COMMENT

  1. I stopped at JoJo’s on the highway last week. It used to be slow but had the mac nut ice cream. They were out of everything – mac nut, coconut flakes, a lot of flavors. Just one person there to make the shave ice and take the orders and money, so it was especially slow.

    The other is calling itself JoJo’s Anuenue, I think, and it looked deserted when I went past. Even with a tour bus in town.

    I’ve pretty much been sticking to the Ono Family Restaurant in Kapa’a. They have a whole host of sour flavors that are especially good, I think.

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