Hawaii makes one think of pineapples and poi, but who would have thought a gas station makes delicious and crispy fried chicken in paradise.

Minit Stop food counters are located inside Ohana gas stations throughout the Big Island and Maui. And they are nothing like the convenience stores I know with hot dogs rotating around for hours. Certainly not. The food stops have employees dredging raw chicken in a secret mix of coating and frying the chicken fresh and hot in each location. Potatoes are hand cut into large wedges and the chicken combo will satisfy the biggest appetite after a day of snorkeling.

I bit into the crunchy, juicy chicken with the seasoned potato wedge and asked myself if I really was in Hawaii. And the price was reasonable, especially for the islands. How did this come to be was my question? I talked with Jon Miyabuchi, Vice President of Retail Sales, and he told me offering good fast food to the locals started with the original owners. For nearly 40 years, the food stops have been well known in the communities of both islands. Word has spread to frequent visitors and it’s rumored Magic Johnson stops in when on Maui.

Traditional Hawaiian foods are always popular but new items are being offered like fried chicken skins named Chick A Rrones with a special sauce. As I munched away inside a store in Kona, I couldn’t take my eyes off the hurricane box which was a to-go container loaded with white rice, macaroni salad and strips of fried chicken topped with addictive sauces. Certainly, this could feed someone for days.

This is a place to grab a hot meal and convenience drinks and hit the road to Hana. If a Hawaiian vacation includes family members sharing a condo, it’s best to order food platters with varieties of the stick to your ribs delights. Watching the sunset on a sandy beach and eating from the platter is fun, just add a tropical mai tai for the perfect evening.

While driving around sightseeing, look for the red chicken Minit Stop sign at the Ohana gas stations. And look closely at the sign, because the chicken is also giving the hang loose hand shaka.

Make sure to download the Minit Stop app for “Coop-On” discounts because you’ll want to know the latest special deals.

It’s no wonder the company fries up nearly half a million pounds of chicken a year serving food in the aloha spirit.