Lighthouse Delicatessen Opens in Downtown Hawi

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HAWI, HAWAII’S BIG ISLAND – The community of North Kohala is now home to an attractive new dining experience. Located next to Lighthouse Liquors in the Kohala Trade Center, Lighthouse Delicatessen offers delicious sandwiches & specialties, munchies & desserts, meats & cheeses by the pound, as well as beer and wine by the glass.

“It’s a perfect place to crush a sandwich and a beer,” said Chris Scelza, one of four friends who also opened neighboring Lighthouse Liquors almost a year ago. “It’s a city-style deli with a Kohala twist.”


Lighthouse Delicatessen is named in honor of the recently demolished Kauhola Point Lighthouse, and is the offspring of four North Kohala residents – General Manager & Chef Chris Scelza, local yoga instructor Bobby Hoyt, marketing manager Marci Elizondo, and carpentry guru Rick Klaus. With recipes inspired by the women in Scelza’s Italian family, a cozy ambiance highlighted by the same wooden flooring, beautiful sapele mahogany accents and deep red walls that adorn Lighthouse Liquors, this deli provides a tasty and charming new option for hungry patrons.

The remodeled space is now open and inviting, featuring cheerfully decorated tables indoors and out, with more seating capacity than before. Klaus orchestrated and executed the new interior, hand-milling all the woodwork for a warm and deeply rich feeling. The floor, kitchen, and ADA-compliant bathroom is completely new.

“We wanted to start fresh so we stripped everything down,” Scelza said. “Although it has a restaurant feel, you can eat in or take something home.”

The idea for the deli grew from a desire for food items not readily available in North Kohala.

“We live and shop in Kohala and cannot find a variety of fresh breads, meats and cheeses here. Now we’ll be able to offer all of these things, as well as specialty items like imported mustards, organic olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and freshly-baked baguettes,” Scelza said. “As we’ve learned from all the people in the community we speak with, it’s obvious that they want this, and that we’d be fulfilling a need.”

Some of the items displayed in the massive deli case are large slabs of Boar’s Head meats at supermarket prices, French brie cheeses, fresh Italian buffalo mozzarella and Asiago cheeses, and three-foot-long links of dry Italian sausages.

The deli is proud to support local farmers, seeking out as much produce as possible from local organic farms. Chef and staff have personally visited some of the farms and have secured the services of a produce liaison, Jessica Wieloh, to coordinate the procurement of a wide variety of greens, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, horseradish, carrots, citrus, herbs, green onions, cabbage, eggs – and more depending on the season. Lighthouse Delicatessen uses several different farms to complete that list.

The deli is also working with farmers to make consistent orders so the farmers know they’ll have an outlet for certain vegetables they plant. Engaging Wieloh in this capacity ensures constant communication between chef and farmer – awareness of what’s fresh and how to integrate items into the menu, or how to adjust when a certain item is not available.

“This is what eating fresh is all about,” says Scelza, “Enjoying what’s been harvested now.”

Lighthouse Delicatessen began researching farms, ordering produce, picking up and accepting deliveries months before they opened in order to test and practice using these crops, and work out the logistics of such an organic process. The deli now sources organic local produce from as far away as Ka’u. Scelza offers, “We do all we can to source locally and to build a dialogue with farmers and hopefully create something – a truly beneficial relationship for all of us.”

Everything that can be is eco-friendly, from bio-degradable cleaning products to take-out containers, using real plates and silverware for dining in the eatery.

“We tried to do it right and be mindful of the earth,” says co-owner Hoyt. “We’re passionate about what we’re doing, we put a lot of hard work into this. We’re always being positive and offering the best service we can – we want to share with the community and we want them to enjoy what we have to offer – a friendly and attractive place to savor a generous sandwich put together by people who really care about offering the freshest and most delicious products we can get our hands on.”

Lighthouse Delicatessen is open every day except Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to  4 p.m., and serves brunch on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The deli is also available evenings for private parties and catered family-style dining.

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