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In this episode of Hawaii’s Best, Bryan Murphy talks with Eggs ‘n Things Director of Operations, Michael Skedeleski. Learn the history of Oahu’s best breakfast restaurant.

Started in 1974, Eggs ‘n Things has been a local favorite for years. For the best breakfast on Oahu, be sure to stop by. There’s usually a wait, but it’s well worth it.

*Local tip* If you want to avoid the lines, try Eggs ‘n Things for dinner. In addition to serving breakfast all day, there are some amazing dinner items added on.

Another amazing fact, is that Eggs ‘n Things strives to source locally. And you can tell by the taste!

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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Michael Skedeleski 0:00

So the original owner is Jan and Jerry Fukunaga. Jerry was a local Japanese American here in Hawaii. His wife, Jan was from California. Jerry used to work at the original Pancake House down in Dillingham. And Jan was also listening to Michael Skidelsky, who is the Director of Operations at eggs and things Hawaii, and Asian things. Hawaii was started in 1974. By his original founders, Jerry and Jan Fukunaga, the main goal with eggs and things and even starting more than 40 years ago is to bring fresh ingredients with reasonable prices to everyone who would come to the restaurants and we're going to hear a little bit more about their story. Talk about the history of eggs and things, and how Michael and his team have kept true to the brand, but also have been moving forward in today's culture. So stay tuned. It's gonna be

Hawaii's Best 0:51

Aloha, welcome to Hawaii's Best podcast. Learn the stories behind Hawaii's Best experiences, influencers and businesses.

Discover everything that makes Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host, Brian Murphy.

Bryan Murphy 1:07

Low Hi, welcome to Episode Four of Hawaii's best podcast. today's gonna be a great one. I can't wait to hear more from Michael about eggs and things and what they're up to currently and some of their rich history. Personally, I've been a fan of eggs and things for many years and learning more from Michael about behind the scenes of eggs and things was really cool for me, and I hope that you find value in it as well. So stay tuned for my takeaways from this episode with Michael. And I'd love to hear your takeaways as well. So you're gonna want to stay tuned for this week's social media challenge. So stay tuned. Let's talk story with Michael.

Thank you for your time and joining us today on Hawaii's Best. How are you doing and maybe tell us a little bit about yourself.

Michael Skedeleski 1:57

I'm doing great. My name is Michael Skidelsky. I'm the Director of Operations for eggs and things Hawaii. Awesome. How long have you been a part of the company? It'd be about 10 years now.

Bryan Murphy 2:08

When you started 10 years ago, what role did you come on?

Michael Skedeleski 2:12

Well, I kind of came on 10 years ago, right when the ownerships were changing hands. And so we had one location on Kala Kala that was closing. And for about six months, we had no locations. And we reopened the one here on Saratoga. And I was the manager of that one location. And then from there, the lead over the last 10 years, we've kind of just kept expanding. In that process of doing the four year the winning warm. We also have a bunch of licensees and franchises in Japan and a couple other places in Asia now. So I guess my capacity from just being the restaurant manager kind of grew a little bit as the 10 years went on, or those franchises are they recent and those licensees um, it's been about seven years. Okay, so it's not that recent, and they have far more than we do. I think Japan has 18 maybe more Lau isn't things away also includes our Guam location as well. So we have four locations here in a wahoo and one in Guam, you know, even though we have a lot more locations now in a lot of ways, I kind of still do the same role I did 10 years ago, where it's a little bit of everything. We don't have a marketing team, we don't have the, you know, design branch, we don't have a true accountant or anything. So, you know, I mean, I do everything from looking over processing payroll to putting together ads and helping together a commercial to coordinating a photoshoot or somebody comes in talking to staff, motivating the managers hiring, staffing, the upper management side, and then you know, having that balance between the ownership customer and the employees, I guess I'm kind of that buffer between them. I would say the main thing I tried to do is viral I feels like kind of setting a tone or vision Culture, if I feel like if I'm setting the right culture that will be successful. And if not, then I think I would probably take a lot of things the culture is not well and doesn't have the main mission statement of the company, which is always, you know, it's just three things except we use the we play off the word eggs. That's exceptional food, yes. Or no, that me? Sure we have those missions. You got it? Yeah. Yeah. So food, it's got to be fresh, it's got to be quality. We try to use local, whatever we can. And then we exhibit Aloha. Last one was extraordinary people. You know, having that that is probably the most challenging leg of those three is finding good people now and keeping them entertaining them. In Hawaii, it's that's probably the most challenging part of this. So that's kind of my main goal, creating the culture and keeping those three mission statements in play throughout the company.

Bryan Murphy 4:52

About 10 years ago, ownership change, but maybe take us back a little further back in 74. When it started, maybe the vision behind that and The owners.

Unknown Speaker 5:01

So the original owners Jen and Jerry Fukunaga, Jerry was a local Japanese American here in Hawaii. His wife, Jan was from California. They were married. Jerry used to work at the original Pancake House, founded doing ham. And Jan was also a waitress. And I think they always wanted to open up their own thing. They had a lot of support from the owners of the original Pancake House. And he wants to do something similar but with a local flair. And Jerry was an advocate fisherman. And so it's kind of idea was always to like bring things that he caught and serve it for breakfast lunch, and they also used to do a lot of dinner. Their concept and ours were a little different, but they kind of wanted to take something like the reserve bank details, but give it a local Hawaii flair to it. And that was the kind of the original vision they had when they opened their first location on ino road. And that was the 1974 and I believe there's only like two tables about the location. How was it received? I think it was received well because it was cheap. Right, so Jerry would fish on the weekend and then they would serve the fish. We still have one of his original dishes, the DNA eggs, Cajun style or salted. And I believe that breakfast was very cheap was like $1 99. And they had a 99 cent breakfast which was for pancakes. Eggs, though, I think the Lobo is structured very well. And they kind of went like took them to the next level was had this one employee and it was Yoshi. And she was a first generation Japanese American. So she could speak English and Japanese and I think she would like, you know, Japanese were walking by and should give them a sample of a pancake or they call it a cocktail cake. And then there would be like, Oh, what is this and so kind of grew that Japanese folding there where they actually started to think that pancakes were a Hawaii thing. Okay. And so that kind of I think Yoshi was kind of behind that. Taking it from not just the local market, but internationally as well.

Bryan Murphy 6:58

Now as the years have gone by What would you say the experience you guys are creating that eggs and things? Where do you hoping your customers walk away with?

Unknown Speaker 7:06

I think the same original vision was the model from 1974 from January that we still have today is serving quality food and a spirit of Aloha. And so I think it's just kind of three things and that is the food making sure it's quality, fresh, be sure to use local as much as possible and, you know, serving it with Aloha. So you know, that serves us back having the right employees who do have that aloha spirit and bringing it to them. I think that's the experiences that you come You can eat breakfast anywhere in the world. But you come here and you can have a Hawaiian style breakfast but it's not like fully aligned but it has a flair to it. And it's there with that aloha spirit. I think that's the experience you want everybody come in to have it almost and that's kind of the vision of the current owners is to not change it so much where it has that kind of walking into somebody's hold till a change that too much to get to corporate or Too sterile,

Bryan Murphy 8:01

right? If someone's coming takes things for the very first time, what are some of your guys's most popular dishes that you would recommend?

Unknown Speaker 8:08

Of course, you know a lot of the Japanese or Asian tourists want to go for the pancakes. I would say if you're more familiar with pancakes and you can get that anywhere, I wouldn't get the pancakes and bacon of go for things that you can't get at home like we do a small pork chop with pineapple honey glaze. We call that our plantation pork chop. I think that's really good. Yeah, you can get our local moko we also do it a Hawaiian style, which is a basic local core, which is the rice, hamburger piety, two eggs and the gravy. We added in sauteed, mushroom, onions and Portuguese sausage on top of that, we call that our Hawaiian style a little more cool. I would say get that fried rice. And then you know there's also like a lot of dishes at night. Well, that's kind of my one recommendation. Yeah, talk about that a little bit. The one thing people don't know is the original hours of eggs and things like And Jerry started was they open at 11pm at night, and they would close at 2pm in the afternoon. Oh, okay, till we came, we took it over. And they were kind of in an area in a timeframe where things are different. They're near all these nightclubs. Yeah, the 70s 80s people would kind of party all night. And so exit things is most busy between that 11pm to 10am hours. Interesting. Okay. Kind of when we came on, though, that wasn't those clubs are shutting down. Yeah, people don't do that as much anymore. So they always serve like, you know, sandwiches, salads and things like that along with the breakfast. But the constant thing was that breakfast was served all throughout any time of day. We still in the PM, we add on burgers, a lot of like chicken wings, stuff that does and two of our locations here actually have like a liquor license, but we serve beer I'll call cocktails on with that. So I was just having a conversation yesterday at this meeting. thing with Hawaii news now and all the people who work there were kind of talking to us and they were like, no like the best thing was the things they're telling one of the people went there was saying this to everybody's like, if you go at night because then you know, there's no way there's no line as a chill feel. And you know, there's like all these specials like on Thursdays, we get 20% off to come on. And also like kids eat free on Sunday and Tuesday nights, all this stuff in there. And you can, the kids can order chocolate chip pancakes if they want, and adults can order like an oxtail soup or things like that. So I think the one secret about eggs and things people don't know they always just think all morning breakfast right as dictates that but even me personally, if I go to eat here, I usually always go at night because that's not as crowded and then you also have a lot more menu item options. So everybody in your party has something.

Bryan Murphy 10:48

So just for clarity you if you go in the evening, you still have all of the breakfast menu available plus some addition.

Unknown Speaker 10:55


Bryan Murphy 10:56

Okay. Going on the west side of Oahu, where did kuliah Where did that vision come from? Did you guys always kind of have your eye? on the west side?

Unknown Speaker 11:06

Yeah, um, a lot of it kind of comes from people asking us like, you know, we always come all the way from Nanakuli or some like that, and we need one on that side. I think when a Lani was being built, they wanted to that hotel with the Disney hotel. And it wasn't, we didn't feel that was a good fit at the time. We kind of always liked that area. But with the development and how many more hotels are coming up there, that second city thing looks like it's probably gonna end up happening, especially with the rail, we did always want something out that side, we tend to always have a good mix of local and tourist visitors. And we kind of always want to keep that with any location we have. We don't want it to just be one that's only for, you know, we don't want to just cater to tourists and lose that feel that right we'll find it and we felt like that location had that offering of local people can easily park here get a thing and people from the hotel can walk right over. So it's that location. seemed like a good marriage.

Bryan Murphy 12:01

Yeah. And how's that going

Unknown Speaker 12:02

for you guys? Um, it's going really well, that location. And by that time the island is a lot more seasonal than Waikiki. And we kind of are learning what those seasons are. We actually opened during ending of the summer This year, we're like, well, this is crazy, like any time of day, it's like there's people and then when summer ended, it was like, okay, morning is busy. And then afternoon pm is kind of quiet. And then you know, holiday season it kind of was busy again. So we're kind of figuring that out. And you may have to have a little bit of flux on staff. hours I think because of that, but very different from us being outside of Honolulu. Oh, but very good. It has like such a different feel. Has that resort feel? Yeah, like being out there. You know, you can get a mimosa you get a Mai Tai or something. And even the clientele is different, you know, they're a little more affluent, and they spend differently in order to

Bryan Murphy 12:56

so that's one of the locations that you have a liquor license for

Unknown Speaker 13:00

Yes, that one in a lot of efficient. Okay,

Bryan Murphy 13:02

do you guys keep the same hours at the colina location? Are you adjusting that

Unknown Speaker 13:06

be adjusted at once? So we kind of did a 6am to 2pm to 10. But now we just go 6am straight to 8pm. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. After eight o'clock, I think everybody was just down and they have activities, I think out there. So we realized after eight o'clock, most of the families are in the hotel.

Bryan Murphy 13:24

And that center over there. That's kind of the typical hours over there, too, right?

Unknown Speaker 13:30

Yeah, I think some people call it dies. Yeah. Yeah, that's kind of the typical hours there. I think monkeypod stays pretty late on the weekend. Yeah. Is the menu the same? Or is it is it different than your other locations. Um, we did change it a little. There's a couple of things that people request there that we were getting other places and so we kind of opened the menu a little. And then interestingly enough, that when we changed that there we added those items here in Honolulu as well. For example, one is a people that would always want to add like a lot of fresh fruits on Their pancakes or their waffle or their french toast, you know and we kind of had it before as I okay fresh strawberries is this price in the fresh TVs and and then it would end up being like a $30 pancake. This is kind of fair to them so we kind of came up with one called are all fresh fruit green will pancakes and we kind of put all the fresh fruits we have on there and sell it for a more reasonable price and you're not getting so much for this just the perfect balance right and that kind of did so well there we put it on the handles and doing well everywhere. And that's kind of based off the customer demand there. The other thing too We do have some restrictions because of other businesses that are there and when you come in there's exclusive so we have really good a cybils that we do everywhere but we can't do a sigh there. Because what are the attendant they have an exclusive so we do the tie instead. Oh interesting sorbets. And that kind of worked out really well because a lot of the customers they're like oh the table what is that and it looks really pretty. Have you ever seen that dragon fruit? Yeah. And we've also put that on a waffle due to people wanting to do that there and it like took off. And so yeah, that menu has a little more freshness to it and the customers are willing to bend for it. The menu is a little different out there. But the core of them is the same in all locations. Okay,

Bryan Murphy 15:19

talking about maybe expanding to other islands, is that something that is in your conversation that you're able to speak into?

Unknown Speaker 15:26

Yeah, we, we did look into that. And, you know, interesting is when I was brought out or when the current ownership took over, that was 2008. Kind of right when we had kind of this economical crisis here, right. So that kind of made them a little more cautious because that first year to a little bit, it was a challenge. And so during that time, we noticed like wowwee why those people seem to hurt even farther than the people alone. There's always that fear of if you went to outer Island, would it? Would you survive if we went through another time like that? Sure, you know, it's been over 1011 years now since we've had that. And things are cyclical, you know. So we feel like that could happen again. But we did always be looked into Kona, Hilo, and Maui a little. I think those may be something we'd like to do. But, you know, again, it comes to challenges of us having to go there finding people. And you know, Boy, that's always the biggest challenge is staffing. We always have two people who are there operators, they're on the outer Island. It's challenging it is for us here and along for labor, finding. I think it's even multiplied in our lives. And so that's always causes pause, but we get a lot of requests for it. And that's something I would be open to just for the challenge.

Bryan Murphy 16:43

Yeah, yeah. Michael, maybe tell us a little bit if you can be a little inside look on what's the business culture like work with other businesses locally.

Unknown Speaker 16:52

I think it's healthy. You know, like for myself, I'm in my restaurant association. I was on the executive board as well for that. Last year, and you kind of get to know all the operators, and you guys all know that you're have the same vision, same goals. And so everybody's pretty helpful. And everyone wants to create, you know, fiduciary relationships with everybody. And we all lookout for each other, you know, it's like, probably there's 30 of us on an email, say, you know, just send, you know, this new law came out, you have to watch out for this. Oh, that's cool. Yeah, you know, so, I think everybody kind of looks out for each other. And then, you know, the vendors in between play a big role in that too. Like, you know, one of our major vendors is why hazza and their clients are such such and they kind of like, you know, as long as you're not in direct competition to kind of say, Hey, you know, such and such as doing this, or they have questions about that. How is you know, this, for example, we're using this beyond meat like a vegan Howdy, that we're using, and they're like, one of our other clients wants to know how it's doing and how you like it. And so we get to talk and so the relationship is always good. You know, we haven't had any problems with that. I think the main thing that we noticed is that, especially if it's a local operated business, you know, we're always shut out to help each other. And I think there's enough of the market enough people coming in that we realized that there's enough to go around for everybody.

Bryan Murphy 18:15

Yeah. How do you see the aloha spirit within the business world? Is that something that affects how you guys do business?

Unknown Speaker 18:22

Yes, I definitely think so. And you know, that's even possibly strategic for building out locations. Well, like, if there was somebody that we knew there was a local mom and pops breakfast place, we probably don't want to open next door to them. Yeah. And so that's kind of always been something we've looked at when we found locations and most good landlords are also conscientious about that. So yeah, that's always plays a part in our business decisions as well, to make sure you take care of each other and we probably pair up with a lot of them doing charity work too, when working with charities, and events. So you do have a lot of crossover. So you do have to have that little spirit. Know how to work with all of them as you will cross back.

Bryan Murphy 19:02

Right, right. I'm curious, Michael, just from your perspective, if someone's coming to the islands, maybe for a visit for the first time, what are some things that you would want them to know before their visit to get the most out of their experience?

Unknown Speaker 19:17

Yeah, I think there's probably the main I'm just thinking about when I travel to you always. And that kind of played a big part in a lot of the decisions we made here is when I traveled like I always want to try things that are you can't get it for making sure you try the local coffee or even if I go to an outer Island, I go to quiet want to have quiet coffee and have quiet right yeah, make there so try to map those things out first. Like for example for us use hundred percent local eggs. We use 100% local pasture raised beef here and we use all local fresh caught fish. And that's something you know Jerry, the original owner and still but at the same time by traveling around to Jr. Don't travel realized, like, I wouldn't want to come here and drink Brazilian coffee or, you know, you kind of don't want to eat like a steak that you could have had and home. All right. So, you know, it might be different and it takes a it's a lot more work for us to be honest like just to secure that deal with the eggs. It's yours because they have to throw out the chickens and you have to sign commitments. Like if we if they do that, you know, they asked us like, if you're going to do this, you have to sign like a three year commitment. You know, yeah, I have to build those eggs. And you know, it's not cheaper. I mean, getting box eggs or legs from the mainland is a lot cheaper. But there's a commitment we're willing to do, even with the local beef presents challenges, but we're kind of committed to that vision. We think the people who are interested in it will appreciate it. I would say try to find things that are local things you can't get back home and then you know even making friends or talking with people who are here it whether that be your server, or the busboy or something. No they all like love telling people like you gotta go here this new place opened or this beach That, you know, because if not, you'll just go to the things that are top 10 on TripAdvisor and, you know, get a real good snapshot of the real Hawaii. I think if you do that, I think talking to people and finding out Hey, where do you guys go to eat on the weekend, and our servers actually a couple of our servers here, they even created their own little like website. And they'll share it with their customers. Like, here's my, like, top 10 places. Oh, I love that. Yeah. So, you know, there's enough free website places that they do it and they feel like, touch for their customers, a lot of people do come in are foodies, or they're really into adventure, you know, like heights and things. So at one of our servers really loves hiking, so it has, like, you know, a little blog thing about different heights and shares of customers are into that. So it's easy with local culture to strike up a conversation and find out. Hey, you know, you know, leave me some space and time for that. Most local people don't share things. They love the bottom line.

Bryan Murphy 21:50

I think that's just kind of going back a little bit just to locally sourced and just the integrity and the vision behind that. I just think that is that is amazing. And I think that's important. For people to know, and to appreciate, thank you.

Unknown Speaker 22:04

Yeah, quinoa beef is the beef that we use and they have a very sustainable vision actually slaughtered here on Island grow mostly on Kauai. But you know, they also start some other farmers have the same vision, getting to know them a lot and their vision and made us a lot more passionate. We try to share them with the servers so they know how to sell that to the customers because local beef does taste different because RB fear that we're using is they're eating just grass that's grown on the island from rain. It's taste very different from you know, grain fed corn fed beef from Colorado or something. You know, so you there is some education process of it's not going to lottery it's gonna have a little bit more of a true gamey taste and so we kind of offset that by we offer like Rob's we do like a corner coffee Rob, if you want to do that way. richer onion Rob Southern and pepper. But you know, some people do appreciate it. I think if you're the type that like venison or things like that. I think you'll appreciate that. And it's a lot more healthy. It's the leaner. Yeah, it's cool to meet vendors and people who sourced us that are passionate about that, too. And they are local businesses.

Bryan Murphy 23:12

What do you like best about Hawaii or your role? I know, that's a huge question. But if you had to, like narrow it down, what are some things that come to your mind?

Unknown Speaker 23:22

I think now, because I just had two kids, you know, and they're young, like one is 15 months, and one is two months, you kind of think, you know, you see things totally different. I mean, you always love Hawaii, because of the beaches, the high food and those things, but now you kind of like it. You think about where you want to raise your kids. So I think the thing I like about why is there is that there is that aloha spirit, and there's this culture, that everybody who's kind of here that has very communal thought everywhere but you know, there there is still that sense more than I lived on the mainland. I've lived in Japan, Canada, a few other places. And there is that There's something about being welcoming to anybody into their home. And if you go into somebody else's home you always offered to do dishes and there's this is little things that you don't really, you couldn't just teach somebody kind of got to grow up around it. You kind of want your kids to have that. That's something I love. It's kind of intricate and maybe subtle to most people. But when I started having kids and I started thinking about those like who would be easier right to live on the mainland, it's a lot more economical housing and affordability but you might lose that so I think that's the thing is that cultural aspect everybody kind of has grown up looking after each other being considered.

Unknown Speaker 24:43

I guess that's my, what I love most about boy.

Bryan Murphy 24:46

Michael, how can people find more about eggs and things and get in touch with you guys?

Unknown Speaker 24:52

Yeah, we have our website, eggs and things calm. That's eg s letter n th imgs. Calm and then Instagram has some things Hei, its toy, and then Facebook or just eggs and things. And each location has their own different page. So depending where you're staying, or which one you're near, you can check that out on Facebook. But I would say the websites the best place to get the menu, latest news and whatnot. Yeah, there's always a traditional way of just calling us those numbers on the website.

Bryan Murphy 25:22

Great. And also on the website, there's a there's an online store where you have some goodies available syrup, coffee pancake mix, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 25:32

Um, yes, we have our online shop and you know, actually, that is probably maybe about 20% of our business. Oh, wow. A lot of the people will eat the pancakes or the syrup and then go downstairs and buy that into the mods. A lot of other accessories but the core of it is from I think even from the late 70s they were selling and they added on sir. And then we kind of just built off of that, but we always want to make sure we have something for people to take home if they really liked it here and even I use a banking mix at home. It's easy. And it is a proprietary mix that we use here in the restaurant as well. It's a big part of our business that we probably don't advertise much but people come they realize, okay, well you get some pretty big selection of retail items.

Bryan Murphy 26:14

Yeah, the syrup. Do you guys make it or

Unknown Speaker 26:18

no, we have somebody make it okay. And we have a coconut a guava, you know, if you're from the mainland don't buy the maple because you get that anywhere. But you know, there's a lot of people come from other countries where they don't even have maple. They even know what that is. So we only added that on last few years. People are like, we need that maple syrup for like, I guess they just honey, we found out they just use honey when they go back home, but it tastes different. And so we started offering me

Bryan Murphy 26:43

that's smart. Well, hey, Michael, thank you so much for your time again and really appreciate what you guys are doing. Thank you. It's a pleasure talking to you. Appreciate it. Well, I just want to thank Michael again for his time and coming on Hawaii's Best podcast if you enjoy today's interview with Michael go to live Hawaii's Best dot com slash Episode 004. And there you'll find today's show notes and all the links mentioned in today's episode. Also be great for you to submit a review on iTunes that helps others who love Hawaii and want to learn more about its culture and all about its amazing businesses and influencers here, be able to find Hawaii's Best podcasts. So, thanks for considering to do that. My key takeaways today from my conversation with Michael were what I love about Ace and things is its rich history and that it was birth in Hawaii. I also love how they're striving to keep true to the brand of eggs and things yet they're moving forward like in some of their franchisees and in Guam, for example, and their passion to keeping ingredients, the highest level of quality as possible and supporting local farmers and businesses as well. Those are a few things that I just took away with and I just made me fall in love More with eggs and things and what they're all about. Also Michael drop a little secret. And my wife and I, we've experienced this and we can vouch for this as well. If you're going to go to AIDS and things, yeah, you're gonna want to experience her breakfast and do that. But also, I want to encourage you to try eggs and things for dinner because it is a very much different type of feel. There is not a huge rush. The menu is expanded, they have an amazing dinner menu, but also their breakfast menu. It is served all day. So try it out. Let me know what you think. And you can do that on social. And speaking of that this week's social media challenge is simply take a screenshot of this episode and upload it on your stories. And just comment your key takeaway from today's episode. So we'll see you on Instagram. Be sure to follow us at Hawaii's Best. And until next week. Aloha.

Hawaii's Best 28:56

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Bryan Murphy
Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.