Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Aloha Cafe

Posted by todblog on March 23, 2008

March 23, 2008

Driving for six hours across Oregon makes you think about possible stops along the way to refuel, stretch, take a bathroom break, get something to eat, shop, etc. It is even more appealing to check out a place that you normally don’t have access to all the time. Those would be the Costco, Columbia Outlet, Sportsmans Warehouse, etc. trips.

Well on the way back from the John Day baseball tourney, we opted to take a stretch break in Bend and check out a new place to eat. We saw it on our way to the tourney and made a note to ourselves that it should be a stop on the way home. It was the Aloha Cafe.

I walked up to the window and looked inside to see a small place with some people eating around neatly arranged tables and chairs. I read the menu on the window and felt comfortable that we would not walk away hungry. I turned away to relay the news to everyone waiting in the truck and a blond boy with a puka shell choker came out and asked if I wanted a menu. I told him I would be right back with my family.

We all walked in and gathered around the counter to place our orders. The Hawaiian Sun juices in the self-help refrigerator caught Jacob’s eyes and we quickly finished ordering some kalua pig, barbecue beef, teriyaki chicken, yakisoba noodles, cole slaw, macaroni salad, and rice. The guy in the kitchen looked at me and I looked at him. Our glance at each other solidified and I said, “Eh, you look familiar to me..” and he said the same thing to me followed by, “What island you from?” My mind was racing trying to run through my mental database of faces and places when it came to me.

“Merv?” and his eyes lit up and his head cocked back with startled amazement. I was right about his identity and now he knew there was a connection but, who was I?

“Brah, Waimea fire station, Johnny-Boy Whitman, Charlie Whittle, I’m Tod Lum” it let him off the hook and he finally made the connection. Boy this computer of mine still get em. Merv came around the counter and we gave each other a big hug. It feels very special to make a connection with someone from the islands in Oregon. Makes the world shrink just a little bit more.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that Merv Abe is doing well in Bend, Oregon and has two restaurants (the other is in Sun River) and having a place like that draws island folks in. He has quite a few connection stories like ours. Like us, he has kept his place on the big island and plans to return one day when his retirement adventure is pau. Until then, he’s cooking it up in Central Oregon and the Aloha Cafe will be a place for us to stop by whenever we’re passing through.

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8 Responses to “Aloha Cafe”

  1. Jackson said

    The Kona Mix Plate is way better food than the ALOHA BBQ. And the people who own and run the place are actually from Hawaii. Nothing beats them as far as I am concerned. Aloha Cafe is only “Hawaiian” BBQ because of the Kalua Pig. Where is the Lau Lau, Kal-Bi, Poke, of and other kind of fish for that matter. It looks like he paid you to write that crap, what a joke

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  2. robert defazio said

    Merv abe is a personal friend of mine. When he lived in Kona we surfed together. He would always talked about different dishes he would put together. The one thing I know he doesn’t like is cilantro. What a trip to see his picture.
    Robert(Lopaka)Defazio.. Big Island Hawaii…….

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  3. todblog said

    Jackson-
    Was this story comparing the Aloha Cafe (not BBQ) to another place? NO
    Did this story say it was a Hawaiian food restaurant? NO
    This story was about meeting up with an old friend in an unlikely place and how folks from the islands congregate at such plate lunch places.

    By the way- Merv was born and raised on the Big Island- Laupahoehoe.

    Please read more carefully before posting ignorant flames here.

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  4. Richard (Caw!) Tatz said

    I’m with Todblog and was stoked to read about my old surfing buddy Merv as well. If I’m ever in Oregon, I’ll definitely search out his restaurant and grind with him. Caw! Richard (Caw!) Tatz Honolulu

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  5. jackie jeanines sister haha said

    todd how wonderful to meet up with a friend !!! making u miss hawaii !!!!!! ????? im so glad you found him !!!!!

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  6. Deb said

    Hello! Glad to see Merv is cooking for you all in Oregon – one of my favorite states. Got to agree with Lopaka about it being a trip to see his picture! One thing I do know for sure is the boy can cook (I gained about 50 pounds while I was married to him many years ago) and he IS the boy from Laupahoehoe, so not sure how anyone could not think he’s from Hawaii…anyway, that being said, he better be making Pa’s hekka for you all or you are getting cheated! Aloha!

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  7. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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  8. Sandra said

    Love the purity of the food. It’s tasty, no grease, fresh and so delicious. Absolutely will return as the food is delicious’ and the service is personable and inviting. Aloha

    Like

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