A Slice of Paradise in the High Desert

Currently open for takeout and to-go orders

Words and photos by Gwen Shoemaker

For nearly a decade, Kona Mix Plate has been serving up a taste of island life right here in the Old Mill District.

In 2006, Ricky and Sheri Kim moved to Bend with their two daughters, Christina and Mikela, after visiting and falling in love with the High Desert.

Having been in the family restaurant business since the 1970s, the Kims also brought with them a plan for a traditional Hawaiian-style eatery. After first opening on South Third Street, Kona Mix Plate moved to the Old Mill District in 2011, right next to Regal Cinemas, where it’s since become a Bend institution, known for such staples as its traditional Hawaiian plate lunches – two scoops of rice, mac salad and an entrée – Loco Moco, chicken katsu, kalua pork, mahi-mahi and more.

Dishes are all made from scratch with fresh ingredients and served with “The Aloha Spirit.” The menu is diverse, featuring traditional Hawaiian, Japanese, and American specialties, hence the mix plate in the restaurant’s name.

The inspiration for Kona Mix Plate originated from Ricky’s mother Keun Soo Kim, known to all simply as Grandma Kim. Her legacy lives on in everything at Kona Mix Plate, from her version of bulgogi – thinly sliced beef– to her famous potato mac salad and homemade garlic and teriyaki sauces.

“Ricky learned everything he knows from Grandma Kim,” Sheri says. “They were two peas in a pod.”

Just as iconic as Kona’s traditional Hawaiian meals is its customer service and the loyalty it inspires among its patrons.

“I love my job because of the customers,” Sheri adds. “They feel like family.”

Family is a constant theme throughout Kona Mix Plate. From Grandma Kim’s recipes to Ricky, Sheri, Christina and Mikela running all aspects of the business, guests leave Kona happy, full and savoring the warmth that comes from this little slice of paradise in the High Desert.