HONOLULU (KHON2) – Have you ever wanted to take a step back in time? Eat at an American style diner while listening to retro 1950’s-60’s music? Well, you can in Waikiki.
Head to Rock Island Cafe, they are known for food, drinks and shopping. The Cafe first got its start in 1999 and is now celebrating their 22nd anniversary.
Michael Gelfo, owner of Rock Island Café said their café stemmed from their family retail business where they sold gifts and collectibles.
“We always sold gifts and collectibles, but learned the future was in combining retail with a restaurant and bar,” said Gelfo. “Now our guests shop, eat and drink all in one place.”
He said their café is a retro 1950’s-60’s diner with a tiki bar type of vibe, Guests can come from around the world and be taken back in time.
“It is definitely family friendly,” said Gelfo. “Many of our foreign visitors want the quintessential diner American experience, but we always include a tropical twist.”
After you walk in to be seated, you get handed a menu and once you are ready to order you are asked to walk up to the counter, receive a 45rpm record as an order number and wait till they bring your food to your table.
“Our most popular dish is the bacon cheeseburger; we serve it on Hawaiian sweet bread which adds a local touch,” said Gelfo. “Other popular items include our BBQ kalua pork sandwich (prepared in the traditional Hawaiian luau way) and of course our milkshakes, malts, maitais and local beer.”
Another favorite item is their Elvis inspired peanut butter and banana sandwich with the option of adding bacon.
What’s unique about this cafe is before or after you eat, you can walk around and shop. Looking and potentially buying old antiques, collector’s items, posters, knick knacks and more.
“Consequently, our décor is always changing,” said Gelfo. “We joke that if a piece of memorabilia gets too dusty, we just mark down the price instead of cleaning it.”
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He said to date their most famous diner was Bruno Mars. Since he is a big Elvis fan and was even an Elvis impersonator as a child in Waikiki, he stopped by their shop to look around and take a picture.