When Lisa Marino of Lahaina Grill—a vivacious foodie tipster—recommends a new restaurant, my ears perk up. And Lisa says the food is delicious at Teddy’s Bigger Burger, the newest addition in the Lahaina Gateway Center, which also features the Melting Pot, Genki sushi, and Outback. Their casual counter-order burgers are served big and juicy, and Renae Anderson of Lahaina tells me their onion rings are terrific, too.
Lahaina is hopping with new restaurant action right now. At a recent visit to 505 Front Street I was clued in by my old Lahainaluna classmate Adam Clarke about Spanky’s Riptide, a new sports bar coming to the center. “We have been on the search for a good location for the past year, and came close to going to Waikiki,” Says Clarke, a partner in the restaurant. “[But] when we found this spot we thought [it] was great.” Spanky’s Riptide is taking over the former Bamboo Bar and Grill location, and, says Clarke, aims to be an unpretentious watering hole for Maui folk to hang out, watch the game and grab a bite. Can you say pau hana?
Amazing Maui Chef Mark Ellman is getting ready to launch his newest culinary (ad)venture in Lahaina, called Honu. Opening next door to his restaurant Mala, Honu’s menu will focus on sustainable seafoods and will also offer Naples-style pizza from a brick oven, fresh baked breads, vegan cuisine and gluten- and sugar-free items. Honu will pour micro brews and organic wines, and of course feature gorgeous views. Satiate your curiosity at their pre-opening party Monday, June 20, where they’ll raise funds for Puanana Leo o Maui. Tickets can be purchased at Mala; for information call 667-9390.
The former Lahaina Oyster Bar will be reincarnated into Fleetwood’s on Front Street. No opening date yet, but fine wine is promised to be a virtue at Mick Fleetwood’s 14,000 square-foot hot spot. Keep track of the progress on their Facebook site. On the north end of Front Street, Aloha Mixed Plate is now serving breakfast starting at 8am. Chef Norman Williams says the omelette ranchero is one of the most popular items, featuring green chilies, onions, salsa and jack cheese, but I’m guessing their kalua pig omelette and loco moco are excellent, too. I couldn’t resist the Hawaiian sweet bread French toast.
The Hard Rock Maui celebrates the opening of the original London location on June 14, 1971 with their annual Burger Badge Bash, welcoming those who serve and protect—wielding defibrillators, guns or hoses—to enjoy 71 cent burgers. “Its one day out of the year we get to honor our hard working community heroes,” says Hard Rock rep Jill Holley. Also celebrating an anniversary, Roy’s Kahana is throwing a bash commemorating 20 years of Hawaiian fusion cuisine. On Friday, June 17 Roy Yamaguchi is back on Maui and hosting an “underground” dinner—the theme and location are top-secret, and I think the suspense is making me hungrier. Then on Saturday, June 18, the Kahana store closes down for a private bash featuring a walk-around food station. Yamaguchi has special guests lined up, including Ed Kenney from Town in Honolulu, Greg and Mary Sonnier from Gabrielle Restaurant in New Orleans and John Finger and Terry Sawyer, the Hog Island Oyster guys. Call 669-6999 to reserve your spot.
If you’re looking for kama‘aina deals on the West side, I’o has half-off entrees for the month of June, while David Paul’s Island Grill is offering 50 percent off two entrees on Sundays and Mondays. Jay’s Place, the new spot at the Wharf, has a pizza deal: $6.50 for a slice, salad and drink.
Central Maui has also seen a recent surge in new dining options. On Wakea Street, Bistro Manila dishes Filipino cuisine. On Hoohana Street, Da Sushi Bar is re-opening; you may remember them from a few years back as the sushi arm at Wow Wee Maui Cafe. Over at Maui Mall, Taco Del Mar has re-opened, offering a choose-your-own-style taqueria experience. And I keep hearing great things about Yum Yum, the newest plate lunch place in Wailuku Industrial on Kolu Street.
And finally, Haiku’s Max Bistro will be wishing founders John and Christina Graziano a bittersweet farewell as they hand over ownership to Paul Johnson. Aloha.