Sunrise Shack: Does the Instagram Famous Smoothie Shop Live Up to the Hype?
Sunrise Shack is located right on the side of Kamehameha Highway in North Shore Oahu. Its bright yellow paint color makes it difficult to miss. The whole town of Haleiwa is peppered with adorable little restaurants and shops, so it is difficult to decide where to stop. There is something special that sets Sunrise Shack apart: It is not just a little roadside stand, it has a large social media presence. @sunriseshack has almost 40k followers on Instagram which is how my sister Anne originally found out that it was a place we should visit while we were on the North Shore. As if the very vegan friendly menu and quaint curb appeal was not enough, the Instagram famous aspect of this little shop made it too intriguing to skip.
I am really no stranger to chasing Instagram famous trends. From waiting at the Glossier Pop Up Shop in San Francisco for 2 hours, to spending hours at the computer to get Museum of Ice Cream tickets, and to braving the long wait at Urth Cafe Beverly Hills, I know that this type of thing usually comes with a line. That is why it was a pleasant surprise that this shop -- despite being frequented by celebrities, had a line with only about two parties ahead of my family. It only took a few minutes to get to the front of line. One problem was that the menu was not really available until we hit the front.The girl working there totally fit the aesthetic of the shop with her surfer look and laid back attitude. Ordering was no problem except for the fact that it was overwhelming to choose from so many mouth watering options. In addition to ordering smoothies and bowls, I also bought a tee shirt and my sister got a reusable bamboo straw. It was a little difficult to get the tee shirt because the stock was stored in the back, but we were able to get it when we left. After we ordered it took about 10 minutes for our food to be ready. The little shack is actually only where they take your order, in the back there is a trailer where the food is made.
This is the trailer where the smoothies where made!
The atmosphere at the Sunrise Shack is definitely what you would expect when you come to Hawaii - bright colors, salty air, and a slow pace. One thing that is fantastic about this place is that it is located right across from Sunrise Beach, a beach with crisp blue water and plenty of shade from tropical trees. Behind the shack there are a few picnic benches to sit on in an area they have labeled the "Zen Den." Good company can be found with the feral chickens that roam (not uncommon in Hawaii). Sunrise Shack is clearly sticking to the sunshine vibe with all of their warm colored paint colors and smily sun logo.
Atmosphere and service score major points, but at the end of the day for me the food is what really matters. My sisters and I all ordered smoothie bowls and my parents both got smoothies.
I ordered the Blue Dream Bowl which is described on the menu as "a blend of creamy coconut, local banana, mango, and blue algae, topped with hemp seeds, goji berries, blue berries, local granola and coconut flakes." I ordered with bowl for a few reasons, first of all the day before I had just burned my tongue with an acidic pineapple so I wanted something more mild, and second I was very intrigued by the bright blue color produced by the algae. This bowl had a unique texture of being very creamy while also icy, which made it very refreshing. It was not too sweet which is often my fear with smoothie bowls, but it did not have any particularly fruity flavor besides coconut. Something that really stood out to me were the toppings, the tart blueberries complimented the creamy coconut very well, and I love how the granola was layered throughout the bowl (not just on top). I even liked the goji berries which is suprising for me because I am usually not a fan. I ordered a large and it filled me up for several hours but did cost about $12.
My sister Caroline ordered the Monkey Bowl which is described on the menu as "a banana peanut butter blend topped with local granola, chocolate almonds, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, more peanut butter, banana, and organic honey." I did not try this bowl because I have a hatred for peanut butter, but according to my sister it was creamy, smooth, and delicious. She said it was very filling and she could not finish it, even though it was very good.
My sister Anne ordered the Açaí Bowl which is described as "organic Acai berries from the Amazon topped with local granola, coconut flakes, local apple banana, house made pick dragon fruit sauce, and organic honey." One unfortunate thing is that this bowl does have honey on it, which I personally do not mind but Anne really does not enjoy. She asked for no honey but they still put it on which was annoying but she said it did not ruin it. She said she particularly liked the ratio of toppings to smoothie. One thing that was weird was her bowl did have a random chunk of salt.
Both of my parents got the Tropical Smoothie which they both really enjoyed. They especially liked how it was not too sweet and was very refreshing. My dad loved the coconut flakes and my mom loved how the fruit flavor was very authentic. According to them it was very filling and kept them full until dinner. (Bonus points from me because they used adorable paper straws)
My dad also got Black Organic Coffee, he said it was really good but very very hot.
Overall I think this place was totally worth it, but was not perfect. I think what I got was great, but they did not really give major attention to detail which was a little frustrating. I really adored the aesthetic of the shop, from the bright yellow shack to the blue smoothies bowl it was totally Instagramable which was probably the goal of the shop. If you are ever on the North Shore, this shack is a great stop. They also have a have a shop in Waikiki Beach but from the pictures I have seen, it is not actually a shack. It is just inside a hotel (same great menu). If I ever return, I would love to try some of the salads they have as well as some of the gf/vegan baked goods. I think this shop really meets the hype it has on social media.