Up until a couple months ago, I have always had a crappy car. I pretty much hated to drive. Seriously, I drove to Lahaina twice last year and was kicking myself for getting sucked into it, both times. But then came “The Pilot,” as in Honda Pilot. Climate control is genius. If I was God I would turn the whole Earth into one big Pilot.
Yeah, I’m bragging. Hey, I love my car. I love to drive. To Lahaina, even. In fact, over the weekend I drove to Lahaina and found a really great place to eat.
Maui Swiss Cafe is unbelievably awesome, and you really need to go there to believe how great it is. It’s on Front Street, but it’s tucked between Burger King and a bunch of tourist traps. If you’re looking for it, it’s easy to recognize by the hot pink, fluffy table umbrellas. You can’t miss them.
It’s an Internet cafe—12 stations, printers—the works, with a full menu of breakfast, sandwiches, pizzas and salads. And I’m not talking no-pansy-ass Wonder Bread and cold-cut sandwiches—I’m talking majorly filing, hearty concoctions of protein, veggies and carbs.
Here’s a teaser of some of the food they serve: The Swiss Breakfast—sliced ham, emmentaler (a Swiss cheese), salami, bacon, fruit, hard-boiled egg and a fresh homemade roll with butter and jam; Turkey Broccoli Melt—French baguette (dough from NY) with Dijon mustard, turkey, broccoli, tomato and melted cheese; BBQ Roast Beef Melt—whole wheat roll with roast beef, onion, mushroom, BBQ sauce and melted cheese; Build-Your-Own pizza with toppings like onion, mushroom, avocado, asparagus, salami, pepperoni, pineapple, ham and bacon; Chef Salad—tossed with bacon, egg, mushrooms and more; the Toscana Salad—garden salad tossed with onion, tomato, salami, mozzarella, mushrooms and olives; and the Swiss Melt—parmesan crust with spicy chicken, onion, mushroom, tomato and melted cheese.
Owner Rolf Egli is a vegetarian, so naturally they have a pretty extensive veggie menu for all you herbivores. One of the veggie options they have that sounds D-Lish is the Veggie Melt: a whole wheat roll with grilled zucchini, broccoli, tomato and melted cheese. Where’s the beef? Who cares!
I personally tried the Turkey Broccoli Melt and the BBQ Roast Beef (both served with salad and chips) along with homemade Swiss rolls and can tell you that the food is hearty, satisfying and totally delicious. If you’ve never tried Swiss bread, and are a carb freak, you are totally missing out. It’s basically a meal in itself.
The prices on both the Internet and the food are shockingly low, especially for Lahaina. For the price of a king-sized value meal at Burger King you can get a real, homemade dish and check your email. Not to mention, kama‘aina’s get 20 percent off their bill.
And ice cream. I’m pretty sure that it’s by far the cheapest place on the Westside to get really good ice cream.
Long live Maui Swiss Cafe, and all hail the Hawai‘i State Driver’s License. May your tastebuds and paycheck both live long and prosper. Amen. MTW