Updates on Maunaloa Volcano - CLICK HERE

Surf + Music with Jonathan Rotmensch


Surf + Music Culture in Hawaii - Hawaiian Aroma Caffe

From the origins of his chic-meets-Hawaiian-charm coffeeshop and the importance of ambience to the power of Hawaiian nonprofit AccessSurf, Jonathan Rotmensch took time out from brewing and creating cool stuff to tell us about how he got his start—and a few of his favorite things.  

(OR) Your Hawaiian Aroma Caffe is one of the most Instagrammed, with international recognition. What was your impetus for starting the cafe on Oahu? And what do you think makes it so snap-worthy?

(JR) My wife and I always wanted to have our own coffee shop. We knew we had what it takes to break the mold of ordinary coffee shops and create a new niche, a new genre of coffee shops. A coffee shop that stays true to the Hawaiian hospitality and charm while still be contemporary and chic with a mouthwatering menu.

(OR)  You and your wife, Mor (co-founder of Hawaiian Aroma Cafe with you!), both grew up in the Middle East and Europe. What brought you to Hawaii and led you to put down roots here?

(JR) Originally, I was a fashion designer in pursuit of growing my brand. Mor (my Wife) believed in me and my dream and agreed to leave everything behind and start our journey together in Hawaii. Very fast we realized that the cost of living in Honolulu isn't sustainable with dreams. Immediately we shifted gears ,changed direction and dedicated our next 4 years to retail and marketing. When we saw the opportunity to fulfill our dream and bring our vision to fruition, we grabbed it. We closed 11 of our retail stores and dedicated our attention to our new baby. The month we opened our first location at the Ala Moana Center our first daughter was born. At moment we knew we will never leave again...

(OR)  Tell us about your work with AccesSurf Hawaii -- what are some of your most rewarding experiences?

(JR) Working with AccesSurf is been a blessing. It changed my approach to almost everything I do today. I remember at the first event we worked together I was fortunate to witness the power of AccesSurf. A kid with a cognitive disability that wasn't willing to smile, talk and certainly no physical contact. After getting out of the water the kid couldn't get his smile off while "high fiving" everyone on the beach. Right there it was clear to me that I want to continue to create live changing event as much as I can. I think everyone needs to be involved in the community in some shape or form.

(OR)  Your cafes have a chill, surfer-ish vibe. Are you a surfer yourself, or just embody the laid-back surf vibes?

(JR) I mainly embody the laid-back surf vibe but I do get out there at least once a week and ride my longboard in Waikiki.

(OR)  With two of your cafes at Outrigger resorts and being one of the Beachcomber Originals, you’ve had a long-standing connection with Outrigger. What are some of your favorite moments there?

My long-standing connection with Outrigger began 4.5 years ago when Barbara Campbell looked me in the eyes and thru my soul and agreed to give Hawaiian Aroma Caffe a chance to open a shop at the Waikiki Beachcomber and then at the OHANA Waikiki East. That moment with Barbara was my favorite moment as it elevated our dedication to excellence and hard work even more.

(OR) From poolside (silent) discos to showcasing local surf art like Tommy Pierucki, Zak Noyle and others, your TOMA events at the Beachcomber featuring all things local music and art have drawn the who’s-who of Hawaii culture. What are some of your favorite art- and music-event moments?

(JR) Every event is extremely important. My team and I are committed to create the best experiences possible and strive to raise the bar every time. That positive pressure makes us become the best version of ourselves. Every event starts with 2 months of research, collaborations, partnerships, sponsorships, planning, promoting, marketing and when all loose ends come together and everyone is smiling and having a good time is when my team and I indulge in the moment.

(OR) Everything you do seems to be a ‘collective of creativity’ (our words :)). What is the connection between your interest in fashion-slash-DJs-slash-surf-community?

(JR) The love for esthetics never faded away. It simply translated in to interior design and marketing. If before I designed deconstructed Button-down Shirts for men in to skirts for women, today I design the ambiance to create the perfect experience.

(OR) Your cafes are unique in their coffee x food x cocktail options. What can travelers expect to find at your cafes today? 

(JR) Travelers can expect to find a calm, trendy and yummy spot full of Aloha good vibes. Great food awesome service and the best espresso drinks in Honolulu and all that while looking at the beautiful new Waikiki Beachcomber pool-deck. 

(OR) On the Beachcomber front, are there any TOMA events (virtual or IRL) are on the horizon? Anything else you’d like to share with us?

(JR) We plan to continue exactly where we left off and continue put smiles on people's faces. Whether with or without a mask.

Grab your own Insta-worthy snaps at Jonathan's Hawaiian Aroma Caffe or pick up some beans and other Aloha-inspired finds for home-brew deliciousness in between travels.

Subscribe and Keep Up With The Latest Posts

ml?emailAddress=" scrolling="no" style="height: 280px;" frameborder="0">
  • 1
    Select Your Destination
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort | Hawaii
  • Home of Hawaiian Music, Kani Ka Pila Grille
  • Renovated modern guest rooms
  • Immersive cultural activities
  • Voyager 47 Club Lounge
Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Hawaii’s first and only craft hotel
  • Home of The Beachcomber Originals
  • Hawaiian Aroma Caffe, Waikiki’s most Instagrammed coffee shop
  • Island’s longest bar at Maui Brewing Co
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort | Hawaii
  • Beachfront location
  • Home of Duke’s Waikiki
  • Hawaii’s best live music venue, Blue Note Hawaii
  • Voyager 47 Club Lounge
Waikiki Malia by Outrigger |Hawaii
  • Intimate retreat for adventure seekers
  • Easy access to Waikiki Beach
  • Choice for value-minded families and groups
  • Spacious guest rooms and studios
  • Offering connecting rooms and kitchenettes
OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Spacious guest rooms with kitchenettes
  • Ideal for large groups or families
  • Steps to Waikiki Beach and International Market Place
  • Onsite restaurants – Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar and Tanaka of Tokyo
Airport Honolulu Hotel | Hawaii
  • Only half a mile from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
  • Pet friendly
  • Convenient for business travelJust minutes from Pearl Harbor
Waikiki Shore by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Only resort condo directly on Waikiki Beach
  • Sweeping panoramic ocean views
  • Family friendly
  • Perfect for extended stays
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Regency on Beachwalk Waikiki by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Intimate, boutique style condo resort
  • Situated in the Waikiki Beach Walk shopping and dining district
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Honua Kai Resort & Spa | Maui
  • 38 tropical beachfront acres
  • 3-acre aquatic playground
  • AAA Four Diamond Award accredited
  • Luxury, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites on Kaanapali Beach
The Kapalua Villas Maui | Hawaii
  • Located on 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort
  • Choose from 3 beaches and 11 restaurants
  • Ocean and golf room views
  • Offering two magnificent golf courses
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Palms at Wailea Maui by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Located within the world-famous Wailea Resort community
  • A short drive from the Shops at Wailea and beaches
  • Near Wailea’s most renowned restaurants
Royal Kahana Maui by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Ocean view of Molokai and Lanai
  • Boasts oceanfront pool
  • Private lanai
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
2 Bedroom Partial Ocean View|Kaanapali Maui at the Eldorado by Outrigger
  • Fronts the fairways of Kaanapali Beach Resort
  • Short walk from Whalers Village
  • Featuring three swimming pools
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Aina Nalu Lahaina by Outrigger | Maui
  • Boutique-style condos in heart of Lahaina
  • Two blocks away from Front Street
  • Walking distance to shops and restaurants
Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Offering stunning views of Lanai and Molokai
  • Newly renovated condos
  • Oceanfront on property dining at the Gazebo Restaurant
Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa Kauai by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Heated river pool running through two-acre property
  • Features flumed water slides
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kauai by Outrigger | Hawaii
  • Cottage-style beachfront condos
  • Complimentary access to Poipu Athletic Club
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Lae Nani Resort Kauai | Hawaii
  • Oceanfront condos
  • Includes an ocean pool within a natural stone breakwater
  • Adjacent to the Coconut MarketPlace
Welcome to Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa
Watch the majestic manta rays that swim through Keauhou Bay. Or spend your day relaxing at the spa. It all starts here, on Hawaii Island.
Fairway Villa Waikoloa by Outrigger | Hawaii Island
  • Guests treated to infinity pool and lava rock whirlpool
  • Surrounded by Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed golf course
  • Selection of on property dining options
Kohala Coast Vacation Rentals by Outrigger | Hawaii Island
  • Five distinct properties to choose from
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Close to upscale King’s Shops and Queen’s Market Place
  • Golf at Beach Course
Kanaloa at Kona by Outrigger | Hawaii Island
  • Set on 18 oceanfront acres
  • Boasts 3 swimming pools and 2 tennis courts
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger | Hawaii Island
  • Set on a lava rock bluff
  • Panoramic views of the Kona coast
  • 5-minute drive to restaurants and shops
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
Castaway Island, Fiji Resort | Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
  • Beachfront bures
  • Complimentary beach services
  • Kava ceremony welcomes guests
  • Wood-carving guest activity
  • Enjoy Meke traditional song and dance
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort | Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
  • Beachfront bures
  • Offering Meimei nanny service
  • Talai butler service available
  • Named #1 Family Resort
  • Amazing firewalking ceremony
  • Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort | Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
    • Luxury beachfront suites
    • Mauritian Rum tasting experience
    • Dance to Sega music
    • Relax on private beach
    • Complimentary kid’s club
    Evening at Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
    • Located beachfront on Lamai Beach
    • 2 swimming pools
    • Fitness center
    • Restaurants and in-room dining
    • 3 meeting rooms
    Garden Suite - living area | Outrigger Khao Lak Beach Resort
    • Located beachfront on Bangsak Beach
    • Swimming pool
    • Fitness center
    • Restaurants and in-room dining
    • 3 meeting rooms
    Plunge Pool Suite | Outrigger Surin Beach Resort
    • Located on Surin Beach
    • Boutique resort
    • 2 swimming pools
    • Restaurant and in-room dining
    Aerial View | Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort
    • Luxury resort in the Maldives
    • Choose from beachfront villas or over-water villas
    • Numerous dining options, including our signature restaurant Moodhu Grill
    • Fully equipped PADI and SSI dive center
    Waikiki Beach | Hawaii
    • Famous for Waikiki Beach
    • Hike Diamond Head Crater
    • Take a historical journey at Pearl Harbor
    • Birthplace of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku
    • Home to Iolani Palace, US’s only royal place
    Experience a gorgeous Maui sunset
    • Voted “Best Island in the US”
    • Home to Haleakala volcano
    • Famed for whale watching during the winter months
    • Famous scenic stretch road to Hana
    • Mile long of sandy shore at Kaanapali Beach
    Beaches of Kauai | Hawaii
    • Nicknamed the Garden Island
    • Known for lush valleys, waterfalls and hiking trails
    • Has more beaches than any other Hawaiian Island
    • Most hiking trails than an other Hawaiian Island
    • Largest coffee plantation in the US
    Hawaii Island (Big Island)
    • Often referred to as the “Big Island”
    • Kilauea volcano is the most active and largest in the world
    • Known for black sand beaches
    • Grows most of the world’s macadamia nuts
    • Home to some of the world’s largest telescopes
    Aerial view | Castaway Island Fiji
    • Beachfront bures
    • Authentic cultural experiences
    • Family-friendly accommodations
    • Beach & water activities
    Outrigger Thailand | Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
    • Accommodations in Koh Samui, PhangNga and Surin Phuket
    • Exotic cuisine featuring aromatic spices and fresh ingredient
    • More than 40,000 temples throughout the country
    • Unique variety of wildlife and nature
    • 2
      Select Your Stay Dates
    • 3
      Choose Rooms & Guests
    Apply A Special Rate
    Oh snap! It looks like the rate you selected is not available.
    Your Selection Has Been Applied
    Your Summary
    Back to Top