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Founders & Visionaries - November 2012

(page 4 of 4)

Jammin’ Since 1971

‘Ono Grinds Served 24/7

Voted Best Breakfast 16 Years In A Row! 1996-2012
Photo: Karen Welsh

41 years ago, Ken’s House of Pancakes was opened on Mother’s Day, 1971. 22 years ago, Lei and Lindy Ching bought Ken’s from original owners, Ken Pruitt and Bonnie Twitchell. Debra Ching Maiava and Ric Maiava, have been managing Ken’s since 1990. The first thing Deb and Ric did was to expand the menu to include many more local dishes. With weekly offerings that include: All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Sundays, All- You-Can-Eat Taco Tuesdays, Prime Rib Wednesdays, Hawaiian Plate Thursdays and Oxtail Soup Fridays, it’s no wonder Ken’s has been ‘Jammin’ ever since!

As a Hilo landmark, Ken’s has enjoyed serving Generations of Big Island Families. Tourists from around the world, who are repeat customers, love to come in and ask for their favorite wait person, who astonishingly remembers them by name! They even remember what they like to eat!

Ken’s is a comfortable, family oriented place to enjoy with friends, meet business associates, or just ‘hang out’ with some good music, great service, and outstanding value. The food is honest, plentiful and ‘ono!

Over the years, Ken’s has been recognized for its Food and Service by USA Today as one of ‘Ten Great Places to Start Your Day!’ and by Bon Appetit as one of the ‘Best of the USA.’ And yet, it is being named the “Best Breakfast in East Hawaii” 16 years in a row of which Ken’s is most proud because it is a recognition by the local community. “When you win at home, it feels really good!” says Debra.

Most recently, the Maiava’s sister company located down the road from Ken’s, Ponds Hilo, won “Best Fine Dining”. The Maiava’s were also honored by Junior Achievement Hawaii and St. Joseph’s School for being Leaders in the Community.

Voted Best Fine Dining 2010/2012
Photo: Karen Welsh

It is with the support of ‘Mom,’ Frances Lee Ching that the staff at Ken’s has been able to persevere through the ups and downs of the challenging, changing economic environment. As Mom has said “We’ve had Good Years and Hard Years, but NEVER Unhappy Years!” The Maiavas acknowledge their love for Hilo and her people by saying that they are blessed to live in a community of easy going folks who preserve the beauty, simplicity and honesty of Hilo town.

The real prize at Ken’s is the Staff! 70 Strong, Ken’s employees are what sets it apart from the norm. Ken’s employees are loyal, tough, and professional. Some employees have been with Ken’s since 1975, and they provide the stability, sanity and strength that makes Ken’s a ‘very nice place to work.’ The best part? The smiles! Come into Ken’s and you’re greeted with smiles coming and going! SUMO!


To “Ken’s Krew,”

Mahalo…for Your Time, Your Busy Hands, Your Tired Feet, and Your Smiling Faces. Thank you for being who you are in making Ken’s what it is today to the community and to my family.



Ken's House of Pancakes
Open 24 Hours
1730 Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo, HI 96720


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