“I’m excited to taste a little bit of Hawaiʻi,” says host Sheldon Simeon on his way to Kauai Family Restaurant — a Hawaiian restaurant in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Simeon grew up Hilo, a town on the Big Island, and it’s not lost on him that he’s finding the comforting food of his home all the way in Seattle.
Like Simeon, Kauai Family Restaurant’s owner Peter Buza is a Hawaiʻi native. Buza, who runs the 25-year-old restaurant with his daughter Randy, grew up on the west side of Kauai with a half-Filipino family before moving to Seattle in 1980s. Today the father-daughter duo blend Hawaiian, Filipino, and Spanish influences to create familial dishes like pork adobo, loco moco (rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and brown gravy), and lau lau, pork and fish wrapped in taro leaves. “[It’s] cool to be all the way in Seattle and find my food,” says Simeon. “To come all the way out here and see that aloha spirit.”