Max To Go

Max To Go
Haiku Town Center
Open Tues.-Fri., 7am-5pm

When a restaurant, even one that’s gained a loyal following from mostly positive word-of-mouth, slashes its hours less than a year after opening, that’s almost always a bad sign. Especially, you don’t need to be reminded, in this economy.

That scenario recently unfolded at Max in Haiku, but happily this appears to be one of those close-a-door-open-a-window stories. The window? Max To Go, also located in the Haiku Town Center right around the corner from its parent operation.

The name suggests take-out, but the place isn’t merely a counter and a cook. It actually has a clean, inviting surf-themed décor and enough tables and stools to seat a dozen or so patrons (provided you’re willing to get cozy). Though we had designs on an Upcountry picnic, on a recent Saturday visit we had the place virtually to ourselves and so elected to eat on-site. (Really, picnics are overrated—all those ants and grass in your food and spillage on your lap.)

The selection is a pared-down version of what’s offered at the main restaurant—breakfast options, sandwiches, soups, pizza etc. I opted for the tuna salad sandwich, a heaping dollop of tuna on a sliced baguette with lettuce and tomato. My dining companion got the excellent veggie sandwich (and by excellent I mean even for staunch carnivores), which comes piled with lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot, cucumber, avocado, red onion, grilled eggplant and a pesto spread and perfectly exemplifies one of Max’s winningest traits: fresh ingredients. Add a basket of well-seasoned garlic fries (and some cheese pizza for the keiki in our trio) and it was all we could do to clear our plates.

Think of Max To Go as that rare and cherished breed: a cool little brother who actually supports his big sibling. Jacob Shafer, Maui Time Weekly