Is Foodland the Best Hangout Spot on the North Shore?

Why are you reading an article about a grocery store on a guide to authentic Hawaiian experiences? Because Foodland at Shark’s Cove is not just a grocery store, it’s a gathering place for locals and visitors on the North Shore of Oahu. It has been for decades.

It all started in the late 1970s when the chain (est. 1948) added a location on the corner of Pupukea Road and Kamehameha Highway. It was an overnight hit. For the first time you could get a loaf of bread, cup of sugar, or roll of toilet paper after dark without having to knock on your neighbor’s door. As the years passed it became a place where you’d run into friends and purposely congregate before and after surfing at one of the North Shore’s famed breaks. Visitors eventually caught on too, relying upon the store to refuel them before the long ride back to Waikiki. To date, it has become as synonymous with the seven mile miracle as Banzai Pipeline, except everyone is welcome to enter.

Looking for a place to kill some time the next time you’re on this side of the island? Come to Foodland. Here’s why.

What Makes the Foodland in Pupukea One of the Coolest Places to Hangout on the North Shore of Oahu

Celebrity Hot Spot

Foodland North Shore Oahu Pupukea

Are you a big NFL or NBA fan? Imagine what it would be like to shop at the same grocery store as Tom Brady or Steph Curry. That’s what it’s like for pro surfing fans who enter Foodland. Resident surf stars who regularly pop into the store include the likes of Jamie O’Brien, John John Florence, Carissa Moore, and even Kelly Slater. Then there are local and visiting celebrity musicians such as Jack Johnson and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett who can be found wandering the aisles. Hollywood A-listers like Jason Momoa, Sean Penn, and Jonah Hill also grab necessities from the star-studded supermarket. If TMZ is camped out anywhere on the island, it’s here.

Central to Some of the North Shore’s Best Activities and Attractions

Shark's Cove North Shore Oahu

Aquarium-esque snorkeling across the road

Foodland is the midpoint to many of the North Shore’s top attractions. One of Oahu’s most popular places to snorkel is right across the road, while Waimea Bay and Valley is a 10-minute walk away. To the northeast is Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach and all of the hidden gem beaches in between. Shark’s Cove’s famous food trucks are also next door to the grocery store, as are North Shore Surf Shop activity rentals. There’s nothing like a day well spent riding along Ke Iki and Ke Nui Roads on your rented beach cruiser only to return this North Shore nucleus. Due to its central location there’s little wonder as to why we all arrive at Foodland for an apr├Ęs-activity hangout.

They Sell Everything

Did you forget to bring something for your day of fun on the North Shore? It doesn’t matter, as Foodland probably has it. From snorkels and boogie boards to slippers and sunglasses you’ll find what you need.

Foodland North Shore Oahu

What if it’s your last day on the island and you’ve forgotten to buy souvenirs for the folks back home? Fret not, as the grocer has every imaginable souvenir, from premium Kona coffee and macadamia nuts to key chains and Hawaiian shirts.

Foodland North Shore Oahu

Happy Hour All Day Long

The North Shore isn’t exactly a nightlife hub. Breakers may be open until 11 PM but they’re over in Haleiwa Town. If you’re staying at one of the vacation rentals between Pupukea and Kahuku your evening festivities will most likely occur on the lanai of your Airbnb or VRBO. As a result you’ll need a place to grab libations with an island splash. The standing coolers at Foodland is where its at. They have an impressive selection of locally crafted beer, seltzers, and spirits. Hawaiian brands include Maui Brewing Company, Waikiki Brewing Company, and Ola Brew along with delectable liquors for mixing tropical cocktails such as Kula and Koloa Rum to name a few. In fact, the liquor section here is where lively conversations happen. Hang around long enough and you may get invited to a sunset BBQ or nearby party.

Foodland North Shore Oahu
Foodland North Shore Oahu

If spirits aren’t your thing (or it’s simply too early) you’ll also appreciate the on site Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The convenient cafe is where early risers gather for pre-surf (etc.) caffeination.

Famous Foods You Came to the North Shore For

Foodland North Shore Oahu

The creator of the coconut cream (haupia) pie is found at Foodland

Another reason everyone flocks to Foodland Pupukea may seem obvious, but we’re not talking about Kraft Dinner and Oreos. Instead, we’re referring to celebrated Hawaiian delicacies that you’ve been dying to try. World famous Ted’s Bakery pies are found in the pastry case, which is good news since the island’s best bakery either has a mile long line or is closed. You can also score fresh Spam Musubi, poke, and other Hawaiian plates in the deli. There may not be candles and cozy tables crowned with gingham tablecloth, but this is fine dining, country style.


Do you have any fun Foodland Pupukea stories that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you!


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