Kauai Forward Week: Blu Umi/Japanese Grandma’s Cafe


Honolulu (KHON2)- If you’re looking for authentic sushi and Japanese cuisine on Kauai, look no further than Japanese Grandma’s. After you’re done eating, don’t forget to explore the fashion and art of Blü Umi. Owner and operator Keiko Napier told us the story of how it all started.

“We were on vacation and drove through town on our way back to Princeville from Waimea Cyn. We got coffee and looked at the placards on the front of the buildings and noted how quaint the town is. Three months later my son who was briefly working with a commercial real estate agent sent me a link to a building for sale on Kauai. I clearly remembered the building and asked that he make an offer. The building that we are in served as the USO building during WWll. Given the opportunity, it seemed to the perfect building to restore. During the restoration, I looked through the small phone book that was delivered and realized that there were many residents of Japanese descent but no Japanese restaurants on the west side.”

While waiting for the permits for the space, Keiko started a retail store called Blü Umi.

“Blü Umi is the store I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. We carry a wide assortment of clothing, local to things made in France. My focus is on wonderful textiles. Right now we have an assortment of items from Los Angeles, my hometown is Venice Beach and bringing unique items for locals to experience brings me much joy.”

Of course, we had to ask about the inspiration behind the name “Japanese Grandma’s Café.”

“My two Hapa sons grew up calling my mom ‘Japanese Grandma’, many of our family memories were created around the dining table. My parents were in the restaurant business for years. We strive to serve food that grandma would serve to family and friends.”

Blü Umi is open Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 9pm. Japanese Grandma’s is open Wednesday – Monday for lunch from 11 am-3 pm and dinner 5pm-9pm.

For more information visit japanesegrandma.com or Blü Umi on Facebook @bluumihawaii or Instagram @bluumikauai.

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