We’ve seen a lot of changes at the restaurant space in Wailuku Town’s Pono Building. There was the Old Wailuku Grill, and before that Cafe O’Lei. But the business lunch customers in Wailuku aren’t ones to dwell. When Cafe Central moved from Hart’s Corner (Vineyard and Central) up to Market, they dove right in.
Cafe Central is run by Chef Willie Bumanglag and his wife Lorn. He does the cooking and she’s at the counter helping customers. Bumanglag worked in the resort industry for years before branching out into his own catering and lunch window business, and now they’ve expanded to a full-size dining room with sit-down service. The dining room is modestly decorated with bunches of cheerful faux flowers in the window, and it’s always comfortable.
Cafe Central opened in Hart’s Corner in early 2011, in the location Hart’s Donuts gave up. They were an especially big hit at our office, and we’d get great take-out there like salads and wraps from their takeout window, but there really wasn’t anyplace to sit. But since their move to Market Street, I’ve relaxed in their dining room several times, and recently found that they’d added breakfast to their menu.
In the morning hours they offer an array of basics, but they tweak them just enough to make them updated and exceptional. Their breakfast croissant sliders ($6.25) have asparagus along with tomato and cheese, and also available on a brioche. There are also five different omelets on the menu, starting at $6.95, and they let you mix and match to make your own as well. For all the sweet tooth breakfasts, you could add a serving of fruit for a dollar, adding a healthy note to their French toast, pancakes and waffles ($6.25-$6.75). Oh, and their crepes and berries with vanilla fondue and mango sauce ($6.25) is something you can’t get anywhere else on Market Street.
The breakfast plates come with roasted potatoes or fried rice, steak, sausage or bacon and eggs cooked how you like them. Their mini loco moco has its place here, too, for $7.50 and the New Zealand scramble of corn beef and eggs is a great treat.
But as was the case with their old location, lunch is where Chef Bumanglag shines. Again you’ll find his unique twists on the very familiar plate lunches, sandwiches and salads. The menu is rich with his own Filipino influences, and MauiTime’s taste testers have become immediately addicted to his flavorful sauces, dressings and preparations.
The spicy ahi wrap ($8.50) with avocado, mango salsa and wasabi ginger aioli has long been a favorite, gracing the desks of many staffers. The roast chicken breast salad ($7.75), with fresh and dried fruits, cashews and raspberry dressing is another lunchtime love. Then there are creative sandwiches like the curry-spiced chicken on flatbread or the taro-crusted fish with avo aioli on wheat that keep the menu interesting.
Want something more substantial than a sandwich or salad? Cafe Central’s fish tacos comes three to the platter and are served with orange slices, chips and a spicy aioli. If you’re up for a plate lunch ($8.95 to $10.25), they come with hapa rice and potato salad, but you can add a side of tossed salad. The plate menu has some veggie-friendly options like seared tofu stir fry, but their seared ahi is a specialty. The mango BBQ ribs are $10.25 for a half rack, and they also have broiled Thai chicken or chopped steak for the meat eaters. The pork ribs are also offered as a starter–sans the rice and potato salad. Other great starters include from chili hot wings, fried coconut shrimp, pork spring rolls and veggie flatbread.
They also have a catering menu available for parties. For more info, you can visit their website at cafecentralcatering.com.
62 N. Market St., Wailuku
About Jen Russo
I write lifestyle and culinary columns for MauiTime. I love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui and Hawaii specialist.