I’m always looking for new spots to try breakfast – or really any meal, yeah, bit of a goodie maybe. I worked in another lifetime very close to the spot where Manaia is not located – at the intersection of Second and Main in Hillsboro. I’ve seen lots of places go into this space and normally they don’t last too long, but goodness I sincerely hope that Manaia will stay well, forever! I’m not sure how busy it would be during the Farmer’s Market season (there’s a reason to visit again if I’ve ever heard one!!!) but it’s right on the corner from what I’d consider the busiest place for that market. I was lucky enough to be able to visit on a chilly but gorgeous morning in January. The sun was out and I was raring to visit once I’d read some of the reviews of Manaia. Sound like a fantastic place!!
Where is Manaia?
Manaia is located on the ground floor of the building on the North East corner of the Second and Main intersection in Hillsboro. It is very easily found, however, during the Farmer’s Market season (May -> October) I can see there being very limited close parking. Manaia is however er just about close enough to visit for breakfast during the week and is just s short walk from my current work-site. I’ll have to make a mental note to visit sometime during the week.
I was able to find a close spot on this chilly wintry wet Saturday across the street next to the bank. I wasted for a moment for the light to change and was pleasantly pleased to see through the window that Manaia had several diners in it, and there wasn’t too much of a line to order breakfast.
Inside Manaia I felt like I’d been transported to an exotic location in Hawaii or another fantastic Polynesian port. The flooring, decorations, and large plants made me forget about the rainy day behind me and start enjoying their interior design. Next to the front door are a couple of high-chairs that look out the front window, good for those solo diners. Also, along the left side inside is another counter area that has very comfortable stools at it where folks can browse the always available local papers. Looking further inside is a rustic cooking area decorated with mismatched wood that gives the place an authentic feel. The plants above the cooking counter heighten the tropical feel.
Other Inside Features at Manaia
The table I chose had a marble top – which was cool to the touch, but felt extremely sturdy. The chairs at my table were padded leather and super comfortable. Just behind my table was a couple of great features I thought I’d point out – the owners recognize that to have a successful coffee house there should also be some kind of alternative entertainment choice, hence the television and couches at the rear of the restaurant, that was a fantastic feature as far as I’m concerned. Additionally, just past the couch (from where I was standing) was a large chalkboard where kids can have an erasable surface to entertain themselves. I’m not sure what it is about chalkboards, but it seems like all kids know instinctively what to do with them – I saw at least two or three very small kids walk up to it and start drawing. Very nice that Manaia recognized that having entertainment for all ages is good. On the wall opposite the chalkboard – omg the west side of the building, almost the entire wall back to front has artwork from local artists for sale. There is a massive number of art works there, and it’s very impressive the number of works that are featured.
Coffee and Food Menus
Manaia has a very large selection of coffee drinks, and I can see folks visiting to enjoy the coffee just as much as the restaurant offerings. The breakfast menu items are the reason after all I was visiting, so I needed a couple of moments to figure out a plan. As you all know I’m very partial to Country Fried Steak, however, Manaia being a Polynesian themed restaurant didn’t have any of that. Well, that wasn’t going to deter me!! The two items that sounded good were the Rainmaker and the Uso Plate. Now, as you all know I’m a bit partial to professional wrestling (and more about that in a future article) as silly as it is, it’s a vice I’ll admit to. Well, both the Rainmaker and Uso are related to wrestling – the Rainmaker being Okada from New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the Uso’s being World Wrestling Entertainment Tag Team champs. So, I already had reason enough to want to try them.
Breakfast – Wow, can I say WOWOW!!
Well, I’d love to say that I gracefully and carefully ate the wonderful Uso plate with dignity, etiquette, and stateliness, but that really wouldn’t be the case, and I’m a journalist dedicated to bringing you all the most truthful and honest opinions. In short this may very well have been the greatest breakfast ever consumed by anyone ever in the world. I’m not sure how I didn’t end up ordering several more orders, but I managed to suppress my urges to get more and more. Here is what the Uso plate (thankfully only served on Saturday’s) has (starting at the bottom): Freshly made super light and delicious biscuits, wonderfully homemade and seasoned grave, shredded pork – Umu pork, with two over hard fantastically seasoned fried eggs. I don’t have sufficient rent vocabulary to explain just how good it was, but trust me here – you absolutely need to get to Manaia and try these. You need to.
Rating and Summary
I really appreciate everything that Manaia is trying (and succeeding!!!) to do. The restaurant is very well setup with great furniture, seating options, and entertainment alternatives. The coffee selection is great, but for me the standout option is the food, now, I’ll admit I’ve only enjoyed the Uso plate, but I will also say that if the rest of the offerings are half as good as the Uso plate, then this is a fantastic place that you should immediately if not sooner visit. Just for the Uso plate Manaia’s deserves five Heywillamettes, but I liked everything else so much that I’ll award an additional half. As you all know I don’t normally dish out five and half ratings, but in this case it is well deserved. Please, I implore you, find some time to visit Manaia and try their breakfasts offerings (the also have lunch, but I’ll talk about that in a future article) and do consider visiting on a Saturday and trying the Uso plate, you just may find yourself ordering another one. It’s that good.