McDonald’s (in Hawaii) – Hawaii

While a chain, McDonald’s in Hawaii deserves some attention from its unique offerings

By no means a unique dining option and it’s almost a blight to see them everywhere, so why write a post about McDonald’s in Hawaii? Because they have some unique offerings that you won’t see elsewhere. McDonald’s actually very popular, and has been since they opened in Hawaii in 1968. One reason is that they are cheaper than the mostly overpriced restaurants. They also are often one of the few restaurants open early in the morning for when jet-lagged you wants to find a cup of coffee.

McDonald’s can be found in the four islands you’re likely to visit (Kauai, Big Island, Maui, and Oahu). Their buildings are luckily a little less gauche than those in the US, some aim to even use Polynesian style elements. I’ve heard this is due to zoning, I don’t know if that’s true, but their style is welcome.

A typical Hawaiian McDonalds in Maui

The palm trees are welcome in the parking lot. Places like Waimea, on the Big Island, further have their buildings fit it in more with the local vibe.

McDonald’s in Waimea (right), has a slight local ranch feel

The insides can be decorated a little more local too, like the ocean vibe at this McDonald’s in Maui.

Water vibe at this McDonald’s in Kihe

And they go all out for Christmas.

Christmas season at the McDonald’s in Waimea

Beyond prices, which are welcome relief from the overly high prices in Hawaii, there are menu items which will be new to you. Sadly don’t make it to the mainland in the US, are to be found too. One of the best options are the breakfast platters. The local breakfast comes with rice and then spam and/or sausage. This comes close to a McDonald’s version of a local moco and is about 50% cheaper than most restaurants. While the quality is not local quality, the price matters.

Local Deluxe Breakfast, with rice, eggs, Portuguese Sausage, and Spam

Other options you only see in Hawaii are Royal Kona blends of coffee (we only saw iced versions of this) and different pies. While we didn’t see the Taro pie you can find at McDonald’s in China, they had a pineapple pie and a haupia pie. Both looked very good and a good change from the typical McDonald’s fare.

Two pies you won’t see in the mainland US.

Overall, don’t dismiss McDonald’s in Hawaii. It’s a local success story and one of the few reliably cheap dining options. For us, we primarily visit on the first day (jet lagged) and when the kids really need it. It’s a option for breakfast if your hotel doesn’t have it. And it allows you taste more local flavors on a budget.