I can wake up to this everyday. It could be love at first taste, but, at the very least, a major hook up. After all, scrumptious local eats in West Maui for less than five bucks is a rare catch.
The Maui Baldwin Packers built the Honolua Store in the 1930’s. “During the plantation era, it was a place mainly where the working farmers can charge what they need,” says assistant manager Momi Blando.
Being Filipino, I was humbled to stand on the grounds and some of the original woodwork where my ancestors received retail therapy after a day’s back-breaking labor. It definitely paved the way for many others who now frequent the place while also toiling laboriously on their tans.
Past the branded apparel, travel souvenirs and necessities, smelly candles and just to the left of the fresh coffee machines, are home-cooked options galore: a hobo breakfast plate with eggs any way you like it atop mounds of steaming white rice, corned beef hash, Portuguese sausage and loco moco. Think of a few other breakfast meats, SPAM included, and chances are they probably have it. And it’s all delicious. Also available are restaurant-fluffy pancakes, Belgian waffles and biscuits with brown gravy.
Keeping the experience open for last-minute gastronomic detours, sometimes I go when it’s a quarter before 10 a.m., when breakfast ends but the lunch menu is just being set up. But please don’t be rude and wait until the very last moment. My way, you give enough courtesy to have the best of both worlds without the karmic consequence of being a jerk.
Hot grinds are served until 2:30 p.m. ala turo-turo (Tagalog for point-point because you point at what you want) and change daily except for the kalua pork and cabbage inspiration on Fridays. At any time, have a choice among pan-Asian favorites like chicken long rice or sotanghon, chow fun, sweet chili chicken and teriyaki beef paired with a side salad or fresh veggies.
The grill menu has an array of made-to-order burgers and sandwiches like ham and cheese, tuna melt, pastrami, Reuben, chili dog and French dip. Fish and chips, fries and onion rings round out the extensive selection.
My most recent lunch order consisted of the Friday special and shoyu chicken, which was cooked perfectly and blanketed in a nicely balanced, savory-sweet sauce. There are few things more relaxing than grabbing lunch to go, plopping yourself by a patch of grass near the ocean and watching a whale breach while stuffing a variety of tender land-loving meats in your mouth.
Serving around 200 satisfied opus everyday, it’s also a perfect stop to load a picnic basket with a plethora of beverages, potato chips, fine and not-so-fine wines, musubis, manapuas, fresh poke, deli sandwiches and salads. There are even Chicago-style hot dogs, which I tried in the spirit of Daaaaa Bears getting in the Superbowl. They might not have all the traditional Chicago trimmings, but if you add some condiments and a kick of Sriracha, they definitely get the spirit. MTW