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Island Hopping: Bend's Hawaiian dining expands with Aloha 

click to enlarge The full meal deal at Aloha.
  • The full meal deal at Aloha.
The full meal deal at Aloha.
There may not be enough inexpensive meals downtown for some people's taste, but that's not a problem in eastside "Costco Hub." The corner of Hwy 20 and 27th Street has a bevy of low-priced options, some worth checking out and some worth skipping. Since February one of those worthy spots has been Aloha Café.

Sandwiched between Super Cuts and China Doll in the Crossroads Plaza strip mall, Aloha Café greets you with neon hula girls and surfboards hanging from the wall. The menu is posted overhead and the ordering is done at the counter. The food comes up almost instantly and is brought out to your table. This is no-frills eats that will fill you up and not break the bank.

The choices are beef, chicken and pork with sides of white or brown rice, yakisoba noodles, coleslaw, chips and potato-macaroni salad. There are a variety of "mix-plates" with a number of meats and sides and even Da Big Kahuna ($11.75), a sample of everything that's enough to share.

We decided on the choice of two entrees and two sides for $6.50 and a sandwich for $6.00. The two entrees were Kalua Pork, slightly sweet and juicy pulled pork; and the Teriyaki Chicken, slices of plump white meat cooked in a sweet salty teriyaki sauce. Both were very good with ample portions. For sides, we got the coleslaw and the noodles. The coleslaw was crispy with chunks of pineapple to give it a Hawaiian flare, but also a bit goopy with mayonnaise dressing. The noodles were really tasty, cooked with a light teriyaki sauce, carrots and onions. As my five-year-old dining partner said, he wanted "six hundred twenty seventeen" plates of these noodles.

I was less impressed with the BBQ Pork sandwich. The pork was the same Kalua Pork, flavorful and juicy, but it was covered with a BBQ sauce that tasted like the inside of a can. The tinny flavor ruined the sandwich for me and the squishy white hotdog bun didn't help.

Aloha has bottled juices, tea, and soda. They also have Hawaiian Sun, canned beverages made in Hawaii with flavors like Lilikoi Passion, Guava Nectar and Tropical Iced Tea with pineapple. Also, it was good to see recycle bins and food served on paper rather than Styrofoam. The interior is no muss, no fuss with tables filled with nearby retail and construction workers on their lunch break. There is a busy to-go business especially during lunch, as lots of big orders leave in the hands of hungry customers. Service is super friendly and fast and the looping surf films keep the kiddies (and husbands) occupied.

Whenever I'm in Hawaii I gorge on mangos and an occasional pig cooked in a pit, so I have no idea whether this is "traditional" Hawaiian food, but this is an overall good place to grub, especially for the price. This is the second Hawaiian eatery in Bend and a suitable addition to the scene.

Aloha Café
547 NE Bellevue, Bend 382-5662 10:30am- 9pm. 57100 Beaver Dr Bldg #20, Sunriver 593-5662 11am - 6pm


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