J+P Café (pronounced “J P Cafe”) opened on the first floor of the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel on December 15, 2017. Taking its name from the initials of owner Jun Matsumoto’s company’s name—J Proof—the humble eatery will serve sandwiches, fruit bowls, juices, smoothies, and alcoholic drinks.
Taking a departure from his specialized field of construction in Japan, Matsumoto hopes the eatery will represent his first successful business venture in Hawaii, not to mention his initial foray into the food and beverage world. His ambition is to establish the 500-square foot café as a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.
J+P Café’s menu is greatly comprised of sandwiches—some of which include avocado, egg salad, tuna salad, and veggie—with open-faced toast renditions for the carbohydrate-conscious. Gluten-free bread will be made available to appeal to those adhering to stricter diets.
An impressive roster of fruit bowls (and similar smoothie incarnations) make for lighter meals, with bases incorporating matcha, mango, avocado, acai, pitaya, yogurt, awa, or berries combined with customizable fruit, nut, seed, or natural sweetener-type toppings. Special pineapple boats and papaya bowls give Instagrammers a few post-worthy aesthetics.
For those preferring juices, inspired concoctions such as “Green Matcha,” “Guts Away,” and “Glow” allude to potential cosmetic health benefits for the consumer.
There is also a salmon avocado toast produced by former The French Laundry and Vintage Cave chef Jonathan Mizukami to remain on the menu for a limited period of three months. Prices range the gamut, with a simple Nutella toast going for $3.50 on the extremely affordable end, to the pineapple boat capping the menu prices at $18.
The beachy café has a service counter replete with an espresso machine and a refrigerated food display case situated opposite a 12-seat counter that spans the entire length of the establishment. A textured painted white brick wall in the kitchen area acts as a contrasting point to the smooth black magnetic chalkboard back wall that will display artwork sketched in chalk.
White and black wooden panels resembling repurposed timber line the other facets of the interior, including the floors. Natural wooden shelves, potted plants, and floor-to-ceiling planter pillars add splashes of color, softening the drama of the interior palette.
At the entrance of the café are the words “Aloha” and “Love” arranged in round black and white floor tiles. A lanai area—currently under construction—will seat an additional 18 people when completed, possibly as early as this month.
“I wanted my own place to spend time with friends, so I thought to build out J+P Café as a venue where others will want to gather over coffee, tea, or a meal,” says owner Jun Matsumoto. “Also, since I have a passion for sake, shochu, and whiskey, it seemed befitting to serve alcohol. As a result, we have a nice selection of sake, including some rare selections, as well as shochu, beer, and craft cocktails. After all, I truly believe that happiness is the key to good health.”
J+P Café is located on the first floor of the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel, located at 444 Kanekapolei Avenue. Complimentary parking is available in the open-air parking lot adjacent to the property, at the corner of Ala Wai Boulevard and Kanekapolei Avenue.
The café is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with the menu served all day. For more information, visit the website at www.jpcafehawaii.com.