Despite hearing nothing but negative reviews about Pinky’s Pupu Bar and Grill, I tried to go in with an opened mind. This had been my first time trying out the Kailua restaurant with some friends and to avoid the 15-minute wait, we decided to sit at the bar.
Pinky’s seemed fairly busy for a Friday night; families with young children chatted with mouths full of burgers and fries, while a group of older customers across the way sipped cocktails and snacked on calamari. A typical local-style restaurant, from what I could tell, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
At the bar, a bit of a different scene. Customers still in professional attire let loose with some pau hana time, while a couple of old men looked like they were there strictly for the sports, which played on several flat-screens above the draft beer dispensers. Us, on the other hand, were there just to catch up over a quick bite to eat.
The reviews I read beforehand seemed to be strictly about the dining seating – from live bugs in their utensil set to less-than-average service. My review is mostly on the bar service, which was a bit slow, but the bartender was definitely nice. We ordered a margarita pizza and the drink special for $6. Drinks came out really fast; however, the pizza took about 20 minutes. It was worth the wait, though, very delicious but not so nutritious.
Overall, I had a nice experience at Pinky’s. I would say that I definitely agree with most of the reviewers about their rather high prices. To give you a better idea, it costs $18 for a seared ahi salad and $15 for a hamburger and fries. I will stick to pupus whenever I go there next.
PINKY’S PUPU BAR & GRILL
• 970 N. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua, HI 96734 • 808-254-6255 • Free parking in lot