Kitada’s Kau Kau Korner was one of Makawao’s oldest businesses where the food and atmosphere were loved by all. Takeshi and Suteko Kitada established their restaurant in 1947 and served shopkeepers, mechanics, cowboys and county workers breakfast and lunch until they closed in 2007 after 60 years of business. For a brief time, Kitada’s offered groceries and fishing gear, but they were famous for their food.
Their most popular items were local-style hamburger steak, Saimin and beef hekka. Little changed at Kitada’s even after Takeshi and Suteko were gone. The crew continued to serve the community led by their daughter, Ethel Nobu Hotema and her brother Wilfred Kitada. With its homey clutter, hand-written signs and coffee cups stacked on wooden shelves, Kitada’s was your typical small town eatery that served great food and with a great attitude and a friendly smile. It was a heartwarming reminder of days gone by, like the antique cooking utensils located in their front windows.
The wall behind the counter was lined with photographs of fans, friends as well as thank you notes from Keki whose school projects received support from the Kitada family.
Times have changed. Kitada’s former location on 3617 Baldwin Avenue is now occupied by “Sip Me”, serving coffee, tea, juice and treats.
The Makawao History Museum is honored to exhibit items from and display a recreation of the interior of Kitada’s Kau Kau Korder, thanks to the Kitada family – Lorraine, Ethel, and Wilfred, and interested members of the community.