The Maalaea Shopping Center is a crossroads for Maui, where buses stop to exchange passengers and tourists park on their way to Molokini. I recently dropped in to check out the Aloha Deli, lured by the promise of an appearance by Elmo and Nathan’s hot dogs at their recent “re-grand” opening.
Aloha Deli is a one-counter operation with the menus overhead on the back wall, but they have all you need for a breakfast or lunch. A robust selection of coffee and espresso and breakfast wraps, eggs, french toast and bagels made me wish the office was a little closer. For lunch they have lots of fresh filled wraps, like the Mediterranean chicken or the club, which the lady in front of me ordered and gave a thumbs-up, or other options like sub sandwiches and smoothies.
But I was there to try the dogs, which are 2 for $3 unless you want some of the fancier options like jumbo, Chicago style, chili dog or a combo, which run you from up to $4.99. The Chicago was tempting with the tomatoes and celery salt, but I stuck with the classics: a plain dog with chips and a soda, and a chili cheese dog. All of the dogs are Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, made famous by the Coney Island hot dog eating contests that continue to this day.
I asked owner Howard Canastra how he came to be the Maui distributor for Nathan’s. “I just happened to meet the Oahu contact for Nathan’s and he was a real nice guy,” he said. Canastra and his son, Steve, have been running Aloha Deli for the past five years and have made many changes—but adding Nathan’s to the menu is the most recent big thing. You’ll also find Internet access, bags of coffee for sale, candy bars and bottled drinks. I asked Canastra if there were any plans for an Aloha Deli Maalaea hot dog eating contest, but he said not yet. Ah well—maybe next year. MTW
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