Ohana's offers a touch of the tropics in a frontier setting

Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2005


  Willie & Donna Landford, formerly from Maui, bring the spirit of Aloha to Kenai.

Willie & Donna Landford, formerly from Maui, bring the spirit of Aloha to Kenai.

Three years ago Willie and Donna Landford followed their dream from the Island of Maui to the Kenai Peninsula and opened a family restaurant formerly known as the Hitching Post, a few miles north of Kenai on the Spur highway. The Landford's changed the name of the restaurant to Ohana's, Hawaiian for family. "Ohana means family and this is a family owned and operated business, everyone that is here is family or friends of family and we like our customers to feel like they are family too," said Willie. The Landford's have been coming to the Kenai Peninsula for some nine years. "Kenai is a one of a kind place. Where else can you go that has such beautiful weather in the summer and in the winter you never know what to expect. People want to be in control, but in Alaska you're never in control of the weather or what might be coming the next day. I love fishing and hunting, it's much different here than the reef fishing in Hawaii, but my work comes first," said Landford. Willie says that the secret to his favorite recipes is the freshness of the ingredients and the love he and Donna generously put into each meal he serves. Judging by the noon time crowd at Ohana's, that love is being felt by hungry Alaskans from Kenai to Nikiski.

The Nikiski Chamber of Commerce is now holding their weekly Thursday noon luncheon meetings at Ohana's, where they still offer the popular menu favorites of the former Hitching Post but have added a splendid touch of Hawaii within the rustic Alaskan atmosphere. "We didn't change the basic Hitching Post menu, but we've added a touch of Hawaii to our Ohana menu," said Donna Landford. The dcor at Ohana's features tortoise shells, dolphin designs, and old maps of the Islands displayed on the rustic log walls that add extra warmth to the setting.

While many Alaskans kindle their dreams of escaping to paradise in Hawaii this time of year, the Landford's of Hawaii have made home and "Ohana" here in Alaska and brought with them the spirit of aloha for hungry sourdoughs. For take out or party orders call 283-6292.

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