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Nowhere else in Hawaii will you find zombies, poets, entrepreneurs and hungry patrons in one place – unless you’re at Fresh Cafe. It’s a cafe (and then some) that adds a fresh dynamics to the revitalized industrial Kakaako district with its unique monthly events and its menu of tasty local eats.
Fresh Cafe strives to be a gathering space for the community with a chill ambiance inside and outside of the cafe. Each cup of joe is freshly-brewed with 100-percent Kona Coffee beans. There’s also homemade cookies, sandwiches, soups and salads. The coffees, however, are a hit-or-miss for me. There are times I get the haupia latte, and it’s the perfect temp, perfect taste and perfect way to kick start my day. Other times, it’s watered down and tasteless.
I’ve always had a consistently delicious turkey and cranberry sandwich, however; only thing is that it sometimes takes a half hour to get my order. Those are usually the days when I see one cook in the kitchen, and the cashier playing the role of server, busser and manager. And judging by the online reviews, I’m not the only one with this kind of experience at Fresh.
Fresh Cafe does have its strengths, though, and that’s in the back – where the adjacent warehouse space hosts live music, art and the largest slam poetry event in the nation. This are is called the Loft in Space, where the cafe/venue hopes to inspire and to be inspired by the creative minds that come and go. Then, there’s the monthly art & flea we told you about, with trinkets and treasures that you probably won’t find anywhere else on the island. This month, soulless corpses will show up for the Zombie Apocalypse theme.
I wanted so badly to give Fresh Cafe a purely positive review. It’s a small local business that has huge potential; however, it lacks the follow through that’s needed to appease customers and keep them coming back. I’d imagine running both a restaurant and a venue would be doubly difficult for any entrepreneur. That’d explain the one side of the biz that’s lagging. But you have to at least give the little cafe some credit for trying, right? Hopefully sometime soon, Fresh can hire more staff who will offer much-needed consistency in the service and in the menu; a couple elements that I’m sure will up its overall “freshness.”
FRESH CAFE • 831 Queen St., Honoulu, HI 96813 • Opens Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 9am-6pm • 808-688-8055 • Free parking available but limited