Authentic Hawaiian food and music at Lani’s Luau


People ask me about my favorite Hawaiian restaurant in Tucson, and I always recommend Lani’s Luau at 2532 S. Harrison Rd. (NW corner of Harrison and Golf Links).   Leilani/Lani Dowling (originally from Kona, island of Hawaii) is the head cook and her husband Zane is the manager of this little restaurant, open over 7 years now. Photo below courtesy of Zane.

Lani's Luau restaurant, with Zane Dowling on the left
Lani’s Luau restaurant, with Zane Dowling on the left

The menu is the authentic Hawaiian plate lunch – teriyaki meat, mahi mahi, kalua pig, etc. all with 2 scoops rice and yummy mac salad.  You can also substitute a fresh salad.  And don’t forget to ask about the poi, for you locals missing Hawaiian grinds.  Menu online at their website:  Lani also has haupia (coconut pudding) available daily for dessert,  as well as Hawaiian fruit drinks.

Slack key musician Jamie O’Brien will be playing Hawaiian and Tahitian songs there on Friday, May 2nd, starting at about 6 p.m. (Hawaiian time).  Although Jamie is from England, he’s spent time in Hawaii and studied under slack guitar guitarist George Kahumoku Jr. He also plays the ukulele and takes requests.   I know, as I’ve asked for several favorite songs in the past, including others from his CDs. Photo below courtesy of Jamie.

Jamie O'Brien and Jay Connell at Lani's Luau
Jamie O’Brien and Jay Connell at Lani’s Luau

Enjoy the good food and music at Lani’s.  Phone # 520-886-LUAU (5828). I hear that business has been a bit slow, so please take the ride out east to experience a little bit of Hawaii. Closed on Sundays.


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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).