Locally baked goods, Mexican-inspired breakfast a hit at Okinawa’s La Polleria Pipeline Coffee
By AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 21, 2019
American foodies often plan their restaurant outings around those owned by hip, young chefs or eateries with high praise on Yelp. But in Japan, the hottest trend is dining out at restaurants and cafes where both the meal and the decor is “instabae.”
You might be more familiar with instabae by its English translation, “Instagrammable” — a popular term describing something emblematic of the aesthetics that generate lots of “likes” on the popular photo-sharing app Instagram.
On Okinawa, a small cafe in the Ginowan area is embracing Japan’s instabae obsession by serving up delicious breakfast and lunch fare in a stylish, yet homey setting.
In fact, it was thanks to Instagram that I decided to visit La Polleria Pipeline Coffee in the first place, as photos of the cafe’s uniquely Okinawan take on Mexican comfort foods caught my eye.
Housed inside a former antique shop, La Polleria Pipeline Coffee combines two distinct concepts into one business: La Polleria is the restaurant side, known for its massive breakfast burritos and rotisserie chicken; Pipeline Coffee is the cafe side, serving up espresso drinks and fresh baked goods.
This concept seems to be a hit with the locals, as La Polleria Pipeline is almost always packed with guests. The decor, with wood flooring and Mexican-inspired artwork, provide an appealing backdrop for social media-worthy snapshots.
On the day of my visit, the breakfast special happened to be breakfast burritos — so my companion and I ordered the burrito set (1,000 yen, or about $9) and the restaurant’s morning set (1,000 yen). We added an iced latte for an additional 100 yen.
La Polleria Pipeline’s morning set is served with a sunny-side up egg, bacon, salad, soup, a basic drink and a choice of sweet or savory bread made by Cactus Eatrip — a bakery popular with locals and servicemembers.
I opted for the chorizo bread, but for those who can’t choose just one, additional bread can be purchased for 400 yen. The bread was fresh and chewy, and definitely the standout of the morning set. The dough was complemented nicely by the salty chorizo sausage.
The breakfast burrito might be a bit smaller than American appetites are used to, but for Okinawa, the portion was quite large. It was filled with shredded rotisserie chicken, creamy mashed potatoes and chili con carne. Although mashed potatoes in a breakfast burrito might sound weird, it was the perfect complement to the rest of the fillings. The restaurant’s hot sauce provided a spicy kick to the meal.
I was particularly pleased with the iced latte, which had a strong aroma but wasn’t too bold or bitter.
“La Polleria” means “chicken restaurant” in Spanish — and La Polleria Pipeline definitely delivers on that front. For lunch and dinner, diners can choose from rotisserie chicken plates (half a chicken for 1,350 yen or a full chicken for 2,500 yen), as well as Tacos Del Pastor (1,000 yen) and Mexican sandwiches (1,200 yen). For those looking to unwind after a long day, the restaurant’s mojito (900 yen) is a popular option.
No time to dine in? No problem, as La Polleria Pipeline does to-go orders, too. Parking is a bit tough to find, but there is ample signage to direct diners to the right spot by the restaurant.
If you’d like to dine with your furry friend, the restaurant’s patio is pet-friendly.
La Polleria Pipeline is a great option for anything from a quick bite to a long Sunday breakfast or brunch. And it just might make its way to your Instagram feed, too.
La Polleria Pipeline Coffee
LOCATION: 2-23-1 Oyama, Ginowan City, Okinawa, 901-2223
HOURS: Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch and 6 p.m. to midnight for dinner; Sunday: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for lunch/dinner
COST: Most plates start at 1,000 yen, while drinks start at 350 yen.
DIRECTIONS: From Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, exit the main gate and continue down the hill. Turn left on Pipe Line Street, which runs parallel to Route 58. The restaurant will be on the right after a kilometer.
INFORMATION: instagram.com/ lapolleria_pipelinecoffee