Many years ago, I had a real estate license and a little office at Steven’s Realty in Paia upstairs in the building next to where Jacques is today. I spent many evenings downing beer and pizza at Charley’s while trying to conjure up ways to move enough property to buy some of my own.
It didn’t work. I never sold a damn thing, mostly because I suck at selling and probably like pizza and beer a little too much.
Eventually, my license expired and I moved on from Paia to different areas of the island for other random working adventures. I didn’t miss the grind of showing property, but I sure missed Charley’s.
The other night, my family and I headed to Charley’s for a last minute dinner. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the food, service and overall ambiance was even better than I had remembered.
We sat in the bar area in a big wrap-around booth because it’s comfy and serves as a great containment device for a raging two-year old. It was only about seven, but the place was starting to heat up. There was a large group of local guys having beers while watching mixed martial arts on the big screen TV, several couples that appeared to be tourists enjoying dinner and a slew of regulars at the bar.
All the Willie Nelson paraphernalia that I remember from back in the day still lined the walls. There’s also a new ginormous ukulele or guitar (I couldn’t really tell) that was about seven feet tall near the swinging saloon style doors.
I ordered the fettuccine alfredo with chicken and the hubby ordered “The Works” burger with fries and a bowl of clam chowder.
We were both pleasantly surprised when the soup and salad came out almost immediately. I had requested papaya seed dressing with my salad and was blown away when I tasted it—it was actually real papaya seed dressing, made from scratch, and not the runny stuff from the bottle.
While waiting for our meal, the hubby and I chatted with Mikhail Tassi, the Bar and Promotions Manager, about the recent surge of late-night activity in Paia. Charley’s has brought a lot of really cool shows to the area and regularly features some of the best musicians that Maui offers. A perfect example of this is Willie K, who “owns” Monday nights at the restaurant.
The food came right on time, and my fettuccine was awesome. I’m a sucker for heavy cream sauces, and Charley’s hit it perfectly. It was fresh and creamy but not overly buttery like other places make it. The plate was huge, and even though I was famished when I dove into it, I wasn’t able to finish.
The hubby snarfed down his burger like it was going to get up and run away from him. There’s a ton of burger additions to choose from including avocado, Gorgonzola cheese, cheddar, Swiss, jalapeno jack, jalapenos, mushrooms, bacon and sautéed onions. All burgers are made with Maui Cattle Company beef and are topped with onion, tomato and lettuce.
Charley’s also offers fresh fish, calzones, killer pizza, huge salads (try the gorgonzola with spinach, cranberries, walnuts and croutons), steak, meatloaf and lots of yummy pupus. Seriously, there’s something for just about every appetite, and you’ll be surprised at the quality of the food that you can get in a down-home saloon-like atmosphere. MTW