Ken’s House of Pancakes

Ken’s House of Pancakes neon sign

Ken’s House of Pancakes is a legend in Hilo. Located on the corner of a busy intersection near the hotels and the airport, locals and tourists alike flock to this seemingly always busy restaurant for their huge fluffy 3-egg omelettes, sumo sized saimins and loco mocos, burgers, oxtail stew, and a whole array of local and American foods. Also, where else can you go for a sit-down meal at 3am in the morning in Hilo? Ken’s is the only place!

Here is a sampling of their menu. Notice the Sumo Moco at the bottom!

Ken’s Menu Ken’s Loco Moco Menu

From the menu:
“Sumo” Moco – This is a serious “bell ringer”. 6 scoops rice, choice of spam (4), 5 oz. Lean “Home Grown” beef patty (2), or 6 oz. mahi-mahi. Gravy + 3 eggs any style. *drool*

Ken’s has a relatively new thing going on that when anyone orders a “Sumo” menu item such as the Sumo Moco or the Sumo Min (a huge amount of saimin and garnishes), they ring this bell really loud…


…and all the waitresses/waiters yell a resounding, “SUMO”!!!!!!! They seem to have gotten it down to a science already, with perfect timing. Even the regulars join in and yell “SUMO”!!!! It gets especially louder as the clubbing-folk stumble in after the night is over.

The people at Ken’s are very warm and full of the aloha spirit. Even at the most crowded times, you can see that they are under pressure, but they still keep their cool and are nice and attentive. It feels like a big family in there.

On this visit, we sat at the counter since there were no seats available. The cooks and waitresses were going at it full blast.

Rush time for Ken’s

Here’s their counter setup. The ketchup and tabasco is offered when the food comes.

Ken’s Counter

I ordered the “Pocho” (under $7).


3 eggs with portuguese sausage, onions, and cheddar cheese. Don’t mistake this for one of their omelettes… their omelettes are bigger and fluffier. I ordered this since I wasn’t feeling hungry enough for their huge omelettes. The eggs were soft and the portuguese sausage was tasty. I put shoyu and tabasco all over. :D

It also came with pancakes.

Ken’s Pancakes

Ken’s pancakes are deliciously fluffy and yummy. They also have coconut and lilikoi syrup by request, which is a great option! Although these aren’t the best pancakes I’ve had, they are still very good.

Also ordered was their Oxtail Stew (~$10).

Ken’s Oxtail Stew

The oxtails are extremely tender and the tomato-based stew has a deep, rich flavor. The serving is very generous, with lots of oxtail. Carrots and celery accompany the oxtails. On the side is mac salad and 2 scoops rice. Tabasco is highly recommended for dis one! I know you guys stay drooling already!

On another visit, I had a loco moco, which I just have to include here!

Ken’s Loco Moco

Ken’s Loco Moco Closeup

Ken’s loco moco is one of the better loco mocos in Hilo. The hamburger patty is big and freshly grilled. The gravy is homemade and is lighter (in color) than the regular packaged brown gravy used by most places, but it also tastes better than most places. The gravy matches the loco really well. The eggs (it came with two, but you can’t really tell in the picture) were cooked just right. At $5.45, it’s a more expensive loco moco, but still a good deal for a nice sit-down place.

Also really good are Ken’s fries, served by the basket (shown halfway eaten already).

Ken’s Fries

The fries are really crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Excellent.

A pancake house has to have good coffee, and Ken’s coffee is always hot, fresh, and rich.

Ken’s Coffee

They keep a thermos container full of coffee at your table so that you can drink as much as you like.

Hilo is very lucky to have Ken’s House of Pancakes and I couldn’t wait to feature them on here. :)

Ken’s House of Pancakes
1730 Kamehameha Ave.
Hilo , HI 96720
(808) 538-1877
Open 24 hours.

54 Responses to “Ken’s House of Pancakes”

  1. kelly Says:

    wow brah…it all looks ono! I grew up in hilo……lived dea 20 yeas, an nevah went to kens once! I donno what I was missing brah! I wen live keaukaha side, drove past every day an always thought da buggah waS one tourist kine place, since it’s right at the start of banyan drive. da locco looks ono brah! an da menu no look like tourist prices….even moa ONO! i hope dey wen kave Katsu though brah! an no moa chili peppah wata?

  2. Kirk Says:

    Hey James – Another place I’ve actually been to. When we were single my good friend and I used to fly into Hilo, go eat & drink, than drive to Kamuela (he had some property), go eat & drink (Parker Ranch Broiler & some other places), than drive to Kona, to guess what?
    Anywho’s this place get plenty of food! So you wen eat da’ Sumo Moco???? If you never said nothin’ I woulda thought you ate all of this in one sitting!

  3. James Says:

    You guys are quick!

    Kelly, i know what you mean about it feeling like a tourist place, but that’s the fun part of it… get plenny tourists, yet there are lots of locals. Interesting mix. I always enjoy hearing a tourist order a loco moco or saimin for the very first time and seeing them eat it.

    Kirk, I heard good things about the Parker Ranch Broiler. Sounds like you had a good time while you were single! I still neva try da sumo loco. I dunno if I can handle!

  4. Dean Says:

    Always ono…..Eh James, next time try the Hash and eggs…you’ll be in heaven!

  5. James Says:

    Dean, i agree.. Ken’s corned beef hash and eggs are really good! Mmmmm… i getting hungry again just thinking about it.

    I also forgot to mention that they have a nice pie selection, too.

  6. Reid Says:

    Hi James,

    OK. You just had to do this to me right? The loco moco at Ken’s is winnahs. Probably one of the best that I HAVEN’T eaten in a long time.

    It’s too bad that Interisland fares are so high, otherwise, I would be coming to Hilo more often. A few years ago, I used to make monthly trips to Hilo. Next thing I know, you’re going to be doing a post on Itsu’s. *sigh*

  7. James Says:

    Reid, is good to hear you like Ken’s loco too! I get some friends that says they don’t like it, but it’s so good! If you do come to Hilo, we really gotta grind somewhere. Your blog inspired this blog, actually. :D

    Itsu’s!!!! How did you know??? I was just talking to some friends about that place and I told them, “that’s gonna be a food blog soon!”. Man… that’s freaky!

  8. Dean Says:

    Eh, James no forget the Ice Cream Sundae:9

  9. Reid Says:

    Hi James,

    *Blushing* I had no idea. BTW…whenever I’m in Hilo, the three places that I always visit are Ken’s, Itsu’s and K’s. The last time I was in Hilo I ate at a plate lunch place that was kinda close to Macy’s at the Prince Kuhio Mall. It was pretty good. I also had breakfast at the Firehouse, not bad….

  10. James Says:

    Reid, I havn’t been to K’s for years. I remember their korean chicken, bentos, and I liked how they serve the rice family style. Firehouse has really good breakfast… I need to include that here sometime soon. :) I love their blood sausage and eggs! Was that place in the Mall or outside? It might’ve been Kuhio Grill if it’s on the outside. Otherwise, I think I know which one if it ‘s on the inside, but I forget the name.

  11. James Says:

    Dean, yes I also forgot their wonderful diner style ice cream sundaes and desserts!

  12. monika Says:

    ah, ken’s…i spent many a drunken nite there, back in the day! mahi mahi loco moco’s and blueberry milkshakes…mmmm….

  13. April Says:

    We eat at Ken’s as much as possible when we visit Hilo. We have never had a bad meal there and the service is great. The one drawback to Ken’s is the terrible lack of parking spaces. We’ve found that the best thing to do is to park a block away and walk. Otherwise you spend a lot of time going in a circle in the parking lot waiting for a spot to open.

  14. James Says:

    April, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you brought up the parking issue… it really is a problem especially on weekend mornings. In the lot next to Ken’s (seperated by a fence), there is always a lot of parking there… it just involves a little more walking.

  15. chevy Says:

    bra that food id so ono

  16. layla nani Says:

    man i need a job wat u think i would get hired dea! well the food is awsome but service sucks some times they so slow and get some waiters that is fuckin mean ass bitches

  17. kalal Says:


  18. Calanda Donalds Says:

    hey im a coustomer that enjoys the food hea on the big island thatks for forgettin to give me my bill

  19. Dean Says:

    Iam trying to get in touch with Debbie Maiava. Can you please forward my email to her.

    Thank you,

  20. Big Island Grinds » Ken’s Sumo Loco Says:

    [...] Related Post: An earlier visit to Ken’s House of Pancakes [...]

  21. HawaiiVacationGifts Says:

    My husband and I are fortunate enough to live close to Hilo. Yesterday we had the “flame broiled” burgers which are home grown, grass fed, and lean. Too bad they had run out of the portugese sweet bread buns but the regular buns were “good enuff.”

    At 6.95 with fries and garnish of pickles, lettuce, tomato, and onions, it was well worth it.

  22. asbzbanner Says:

    Thanks for this site!

  23. Hao Says:

    Eating Local Kind grinds is like eating Dog Shit. Thats because all Locals suck,just like Hawaii.

  24. Sumo-sized Eats Says:

    Ken’s Sumo Burger is a massive 2 one half pound patties for a grand total ONE pound of burger that comes with a double order fries and a loud gong bell followed by a synchronized SUMO!!!!!… All this for about $11 bucks! Many other non-sumo sized plates about $6 bucks. The food is really good!! I’m talk’n ’bout Coconut cream syrup on big stack of buttery pancakes!! Lot’s of other local foods…… with a Sumo-sized menu! Great family people at Ken’s with lot’s of Aloha!

    Mahalo Ken’s!

  25. Dennis Says:

    Visited Ken’s about 2 weeks ago. A must for any mainlander that wants a taste of the islands. A huge menu with too many choices. Might have to go a 2nd time. SUMO sizes are out of this world big

  26. Craka Says:

    For dat guy his name iz Hao, how u know what dog shit taste like, datz probably what u eat wea u cum from, or betta yet u probably eat ass datz how u know.

  27. Craig Says:

    Anybody on da island can tell me where I can get kulana brand blood sausage or anything close to this brand cuz da bugga ono, don’t know where to get here in honolulu. Email me at

  28. Roy K. Says:

    My daughter and I visited Hilo “again” this past April. We ate at Ken’s twice for breakfast. Service was terrific,,,, even at 0430 a.m. Food and coffee was great. Can’t wait until we eat at Ken’s again in our November Hilo trip.

  29. Roy K. Says:

    We visited Hilo again last week. My wife accompanied us this trip. We Ate at Ken’s , twice for breakfast. My wife LOVED the crab cake with hollandays sauce. Terrific service and great food.

  30. Me and Roy Says:

    We ate at Ken’s every day until we left! What an awesome place! The coffee is so good, and my husband ate the Sumo burger every day, never got tired of it and loved hearing the whole restaurant yell SUMO! if you live in Hilo, you are lucky, you can go to Ken’s anytime you want :)

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  32. Juliet Says:

    The lup cheong omelette is really ono. And you have to have a piece of Ken’s pineapple upside down cake. Yummy! Great value for your money and they sure know how to give great service.

  33. Scott Says:

    Ken’s is always the first place I go when I arrive in Hilo!! When I’m waiting for my plane in Honolulu my mouth starts to water thinking about their menu…I keep saying I’m going to try other things, but I always seem to get the spam loco-moco.

    By the way, if you want to blend in as a big island native, order your loco-moco with extra brown gravy…

    Great food, great service, great atmosphere…LONG LIVE KEN’S!!!!

  34. Zala Says:

    Best Best Best! I’ll take Ken’s anytime, better than Zippy’s, IHOP, Koa House…you name it..the portions are big, the food taste great and the service is wonderful!!!
    I go to Ken’s everytime I’m in Hilo….

  35. Zala Says:

    I recommend the Smoke’s really good! Best smoked chicken I’ve ever eaten.

  36. mana Says:

    da strawbery bancakes ar da sh!t haha love it

  37. Big Island Grinds » Ken’s Oxtail Soup Says:

    [...] of Pancakes serves oxtail soup on this day!  Ken’s may be more well known for their epic Oxtail Stew served everyday, but you got to try their soup served every Friday.  It’s the best [...]

  38. Charles Gordon Says:

    Question: What was the name of Ken’s House of Pancakes before 1971

  39. marie Says:

    Once I went to kens atnight and the Music was so loud you could hear it across the street. I got major attitude for asking about it. I have never been since. The eggs are neon yellow and look scarey, like the local waitress. Go to Dons around the corner now that food is….how do y’all say it …Ono.

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  44. Mike Says:

    We visited Ken’s because of the PBS special on Breakfasts and was very disappointed. It was like going to Bob’s or Norms. I ordered a hamburger and it was a preformed patty with no taste. The waitress forgot my cheese and was not the friendliest. I won’t go back.
    I recommend the Hawaiian Style Café in Wiamea or try their new one in Hilo. Service was great and fast, food was very good and tasty.

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