Hunting for lunch in Kahului in between chores and errands can be tough. It’s not that there aren’t a lot of options; it’s that it can be hard to find quick, affordable and fresh options that you haven’t eaten many times before. The new Fork & Salad location can fix your hangry chore-day dilemma by providing a delicious and quick lunch that makes you feel good, both in your body and your heart.
Earlier this month, after operating in Kihei for two years, Fork & Salad opened its second location in the Pu‘unene Shopping Center, across the parking lot from Target. The restaurant is health-focused, quick (not fast) food, and features a variety of local ingredients in its diversity of offerings.
When I went to meet a friend for lunch and to check it out, the place was busy. “We’ve been pretty steady,” the girl at the front told me. The interior is cute, vibrant and hip. The waiting line curves around the side of the store and instructions for ordering are built into a wall collage. Fresh, colorful ingredients are displayed under the counter. Water is displayed in glass dispensers with lemons sliced into it. The bright green interior is offset by farm-style wood accents.
It was super-crowded, and with seating for 20, we ended up sharing a table with a woman who was sitting alone. Like many people who are into local, sustainable food, she turned out to be great. We bonded over the healthy food and my friend asked for her card so we could keep in touch. I got the Super Salad; the roasted Brussel sprouts stole the show, and the sweet and savory paired with different textures made it a very non-boring salad. My friend got the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad in a wrap, and the fruity flavors paired with the earthy goat cheese really pulled the flavors together.
There are a lot of choices on the menu, depending on your inclinations. There are a range of signature salads with a diversity of flavors, like classic Caesar, Greek, Thai, Beet and Goat Cheese, and Cobb. Grain Bowls take the salads a step further by adding quinoa or papaya salad. For those looking for a hearty meal, there are the Chef Inspired salads, like the Buckwheat Noodle, the Super Salad with purple sweet potato and Brussel sprouts, and a Paniolo option with cheddar, bacon and mushroom flavors. You can also make any salad a wrap.
Sandwich options also range a variety of flavors, from falafel, to shrimp and avocado, to ahi, to lemon and thyme, and eggplant and goat cheese. All sandwiches are served on organic sourdough from Blue Door Bread Co. To go with your sandwich, you can choose from a few soups: tomato bisque, New England clam chowder, and lamb chili. They also have a keiki menu, with simpler options including a grilled cheese and a fruit cup.
Fork & Salad also has a variety of yummy beverages to go with your lunch, including mango sweet tea, iced tea, lemonade, watermelon lemonade and organic kombucha on tap from Big Wave Kombucha. When I was in, there were five flavors of kombucha, including turmeric-ginger and hibiscus-raspberry. They also had a mango kefir soda on tap. For desert: the Maui famous Pono Pies, and gluten-free cookies.
The Kihei location was founded in 2016 by co-owners Jaron Blosser, Travis Morrin and Cody Christopher, whose first endeavor was Three’s Bar & Grill in Kihei. The trio had the vision to make farm-to-table dining accessible to all, keeping it convenient, healthy and accessible. The restaurant sources much of its ingredients from local farms, including Kumu Farms in Waikapu, Waipoli Hydroponic Greens, Oko‘a Farms and many more. All told, between the two locations, they source over 50 local ingredients from more than 25 farmers and suppliers in Hawai‘i. Their focus is on island people as well as island food: Fork & Salad employs around 40 people between its two locations.
The owners’ vision is to expand the farm-to-table movement to all parts of Hawai‘i and make it accessible to all consumers and boost the local economy. Fork & Salad isn’t just a pretty franchise; it also has a forward-focused mission toward sustainable island living. Its mission is “to redefine the possibilities of farm-to-table cuisine – as healthy, quick, convenient and affordable, so it can be enjoyed every day by everyone. In doing so, we will effectively support local farmers, ranchers and fishermen, taking us one step closer to a sustainable, edible Maui.”
The integrity of this mission has proved successful: the chefs’ vision is taking off, and they will be expanding with a franchise operation to the mainland and beyond.
But here on our island home, where it all started, the Kahului restaurant offers take-out and pick-up either over the phone or via its free app. Let Fork & Salad solve your errand-day dilemma with healthy, ethical lunch options. The eatery is open from 10:30am to 9pm daily.
Photos: Sean M. Hower