Eat for a good cause: Restaurants serving island-sourced specials to support agriculture education

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HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald The Localicious burrito is now being served at Sweet Cane Cafe in Hilo.
Employee Tanya Fessenden serves the Localicious burrito on Thursday at Sweet Cane Cafe in Hilo. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — Twenty-one Big Island restaurants are serving up locally sourced menu items in March as part of the fifth annual Localicious Hawaii campaign.

The monthlong campaign aims to bring awareness to restaurants that actively support Hawaii’s agricultural industry.

Participating restaurants are designating one or more menu items that incorporate locally grown, caught or raised products as its Localicious dish.

For each Localicious dish ordered in March, restaurants will donate $1 to the Hawaii Agriculture Foundation. Proceeds will be used to support educational agriculture programs such as Where Would We Be Without Seeds, Veggie U, AquaPono Aquaponics, In The Fields and Kids Cooking Local.

“For us, it’s important because it supports ag education in schools,” said Cherub Silverstein of Sweet Cane Cafe in Hilo, which has participated in Localicious Hawaii since it began.

Silverstein said the campaign is a “natural fit” for Sweet Cane Cafe, which already features many locally sourced items on its menu. This year, Sweet Cane’s Localicious dish is a house-made taro patty burrito with macadamia nut garlic spread, tomato and lettuce served with a side of house-made roasted pepper salsa and chimichurri and sour cream.

Getting local foods into schools is important, Silverstein said, “And it’s important to get young kids eating healthy, fresh food.”

Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea is participating in the campaign for the first time.

The restaurant is serving up Hawaiian caprese as its Localicious item: vine-ripened tomatoes grown by Wow Farms in Waimea, Hawaii Island goat cheese from Pa‘auilo and freshly grown basil from Adaptations in Captain Cook.

“It’s delicious; you can’t get more fresh than that,” co-owner Jayne Kerns said.

“The ag foundation’s mission of supporting local agriculture and food sustainability is so important and we are big supporters of local ag already. So (the campaign) seemed like a really good fit.”

Localicious Hawaii has raised more than $170,000 for education programs. That money has benefited about 70 schools and 200 classrooms statewide with garden kits and structured ag-related curriculums, according to a Localicious Hawaii news release. The campaign is hoping to raise $50,000 this year.

For more information and specific Localicious dishes featured this year, visit

Email Kirsten Johnson at

Participating Hawaii Island restaurants are:

7-Eleven Hawaii

Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers

Big Island Brewhaus

Big Island Candies

Hawaii Calls Restaurant and Lounge


Lava Lava Beach Club, Waikoloa

MAI Grille

Moon and Turtle

On the Rocks

Puako General Store

Puako Provisions and Catering

Pueo’s Osteria

Rebel Kitchen

Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill

Sundog Bread

Sweet Cane Cafe

Tommy Bahama, Mauna Lani


UH-Hilo Dining Services

Zippy’s Restaurants