Aloha Mixed Plate has been a Lahaina favorite since it opened in 1996. Closed for three months for renovations, the restaurant recently reopened for business. I recently sat down with General Manager Nicky Boskoff to see what’s changed and what stayed the same.
“Structurally, the building hadn’t changed since we opened,” said Boskoff. “The food has gotten more consistent and focused more on the brand, in terms of being local, but it was a really old building that needed a facelift.”
Most noticeably, the bar area now has a more lounge-like atmosphere, and the newly done deck now features operable blinds that can be opened and closed, depending on the heat. Lahaina can get incredibly hot and the shutter system allows the restaurant to control their guests’ comfort while still providing the outdoor, oceanfront atmosphere that Aloha Mixed Plate is famous for.
The restaurant’s slogan was, “Paper Plate meets Million Dollar View,” and though it has exchanged the old paper plates to a more sustainable system, the “plate lunch” philosophy still guides the establishment.
“The mixed plate comes from the plantation days,” said Boskoff. During the sugar plantation days in Hawaii, laborers from many different countries were brought in to work in the fields. All these different ethnicities would come together in the fields, and during their lunch breaks they would bring out their cultural food items and share them as a group.
Aloha Mixed Plate offers fresh fish specials, poke, loco moco, local beef steaks, salads, breakfast, Mochiko chicken and even delicious panna cotta desserts. The restaurant also features an extensive drink and cocktail list. Infusing sweet and savory flavors, many of the ingredients, including fresh lilikoi, come from the gardens of the managers and bar staff.
“Hawaii is a melting pot, and we wanted to have a representation of that on our menu,” Boskoff said.
Aloha Mixed Plate is part of the restaurant company, Na Hoaloha ‘Ekolu, which includes brands like Star Noodle, Leoda’s and the Old Lahaina Luau. Located next door to the Luau is another thing Aloha Mixed Plate has going for it. During the Luaus, guests dining at Aloha Mixed Plate can hear some of the music–“it’s almost like dinner and a free show,” said Boskoff. The Luau is famous for its use of the traditional Hawaiian imu for their kalua pork. In fact, short rib dinner at Aloha Mixed Plate is cooked in the Old Lahaina Luau imu and brought over.
The company also has its own farm in Waikapu, which grows produce and vegetables for the restaurant. This includes heaps of taro for their housemade taro chips and taro-cauliflower mash.
“We really want people to understand that this is a place of Aloha,” said Boskoff. “We want guests to enjoy the warmth and the wonderful view. The food is a representation of our island home. Everything comes together to really create an Aloha experience.”
ALOHA MIXED PLATE
1285 Front St., Lahaina
Photo (L to R): Sous Chef Sergio, Corporate Chef Ivan, Sous Chef Kaluna, Executive Chef Brandon
Photo courtesy Aloha Mixed Plate Instagram