Places to Eat in Central Maui for Under Five Bucks

Oyaku Tei
180 East Wakea Ave., Kahului
Cheeseburger deluxe, $2.65
Oyaku Tei is a little hole-in-the-wall old-school okazuya. They serve breakfast and lunch and their misoyaki butterfish is excellent. Everything’s reasonably priced, but if you only have a few bucks in your pocket, the Maui Cattle Company Cheeseburger deluxe is the way to go. The handmade beef patty comes loaded with melted cheese, crisp lettuce, nice ripe tomato and a thick slice of onion. Simple and delicious. The dining room is cozy—just a few plastic tables and chairs. I usually drop in and order to-go, but they informed me they deliver to anywhere in Kahului and Wailuku. Even better!

Stillwell’s Bakery
1740 Kaahumanu Ave., Wailuku
Quiche and roll, $5.95
This quiche is off the hook. The first time I tried it was at Hawaiian Village Coffee and I begged the proprietor to tell me where he was getting it. Then I went straight to the source. The roll it comes with is also a real treat, white cottage bread with macadamia nuts. The filling has ham, onion and bell pepper, and the texture is so smooth, it’s more like a custard. Stillwell’s also has a side soup and roll for $4.95. Their soup changes daily but they’re all good; the office favorite is the hearty corn chowder. Of course you’ll also probably be tempted by their island famous banana cream pie or cream horns, so you might want more than five bucks in your pocket before entering.

TJ’s Warehouse
875 Alua St., Wailuku
Combo bento, $5.75
TJ’s Warehouse is a modern-day okazu-ya wonderland. Not only do they provide pre-packaged bento goodness to the lucky folks who know where to find them, but they also have a line of daily hot food specials in case you want to pack your own. There’s plenty to choose from in the $5 range—try unagi, udon, combos, mochiko chicken, gyoza and more. They also do specials from time to time, like last week’s teriyaki chicken bento and fountain drink for $4.99, so keep your eye out for the sign on the wall. They also feature an Asian market with Japanese imported foods and local produce.
Da Smoothie Shack
150 Hana Hwy., Kahului
Shaka H&C, $5.95
It’s truly difficult to recommend a $5 sandwich in Central Maui while steering clear of a corporate deli environment. While Da Smoothie Shack is not a deli—and certainly not the Italian deli I am praying will someday open in Central Maui—they are serving healthy food for a good price. All of their sandwiches except for the prosciutto come in at $5.95. The Shaka H&C is Virginia ham and Muenster cheese plus tomato and lettuce. They also have veggie, tuna, salami or caprese. You know you’re on Maui when the fresh fruit smoothies cost as much as your sandwich.

Royal Island Drive Inn
2050 Main St. #Fc2, Wailuku
One-item plate, $4.95
I don’t know if they do this on the Mainland, but over here we love to name take-out places the “drive inn” when there is really no car service, theater or drive-through of any sort. Plus, I don’t know where the “inn” comes in because that usually denotes lodging. That being said, places named “Drive Inn” usually serving awesome local food, even if you have to go inside and order. Royal Island Drive Inn is no exception. Their one-tem plate lets you choose from many of their fresh-made daily dishes, like sesame chicken, sweet and sour pork, Chinese broccoli and pork, charsiu, zucchini and chicken, and you get the choice of chow-mein or fried rice. This restaurant is totally family owned, and serves a great breakfast for under $5, too.