I love it when two great things get together. So when I saw that Wayne’s Sushi Fresh Off the Boat teamed up with Playmaker’s Sports Bar, I knew I’d found a heavenly match.
Playmaker’s Sports Bar is something like a child of the old Sports Page in Kihei. Owner Misha Vosburg was part of the crew that owned and ran Sports Page when its lease ran out. But they weren’t able to find a new Kihei location, and Sports Page had to close. She says the Sports Page will always have a special place in her heart.
After tucking the remaining parts of Sports Page in a storage locker, she didn’t think she was ever going to find a new place. But as luck would have it, the hostess bar Club Koa closed on Lower Main in Wailuku and Vosburg thought she’d found the little oasis she was looking for.
“I opened on February 22–it was actually my 40th birthday,” says Vosburg. “It was because we looked in Kihei for something for the Sports Page forever and it got to the point where I thought I want to do something because I was paying a fortune for storage. There was nothing in Kihei, so I thought I would look in Wailuku since I have lived here for the last 11 years. I decided to do this one myself, without partners. I wanted something small that I could manage. My staff is from Sports Page. You will see some familiar faces here from Sports Page like Mark Barrett and Tracy Elliot.”
Vosburg loves sports and follows it all, so it’s a given that you can see a game from every seat in the bar. The 80-inch screen over the bar is just one of 11 sets in the establishment (which also includes a projector). She is a virtual encyclopedia of sports, and also makes a kick ass Bloody Mary. Her secret Bloody Mary mix is a family recipe handed down from her mom, who ran a bar in Minnesota in the small town where Vosburg grew up.
Playmakers Sports Bar has been settling in for a weekly schedule of entertainment–Monday night is bingo at 7pm; Wednesday night is Playtime with Kalai and DJ Stylz; trivia on Thursday; Friday and Saturday has live music with no cover; and this Sunday is the last football game of the season with breakfast buffet and a Bloody Mary bar. Of course, you can look forward to an amazing Superbowl party here, but as football season wraps up basketball will get going. Their UFC fight nights have been fun, and the cover will be just $10 this Saturday. For music, Natalie Nicole plays Jan 2, 15 and 29.
The sports bar also features a short list of fried pub favorites like breaded zucchini, onion rings, crab wontons, steak cut fries and jalapeno poppers. Vosburg knew she wanted a bigger menu, something healthier than fried food, but felt her kitchen wasn’t up for the job.
Enter Wayne and Heidi Miyahira with their Fresh Off the Boat food truck. Wayne’s Sushi built a following at their Haiku location, then started it going again with their truck parked near Costco. But that food truck park closed, and they’ve been bouncing around trying to work out permits and find a spot again.
Vosburg says she originally wanted to work with Wayne when she was in Kihei, so when they figured out that they could work together in Wailuku, it was kismet. The new menu is solid: New York steak teppanyaki, fusion sushi rolls, garlic shrimp, grilled salmon, tempura, salads and specials. Wayne’s Sushi is open 11am to 7pm (but is closed on Tuesdays). Playmaker’s itself is open noon-midnight Monday through Friday and noon-2am on weekends. Both spots will be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
“It’s ridiculous how good their food is,” says Vosburg. “It’s bringing more people here. My kitchen is not up to par for that, so it’s perfect. We got our fryers and we are doing the greasy food, and Wayne’s menu covers the good stuff.”
The food truck is a boat that the Miyahiras retrofitted into a food truck. It sits right out front of Playmakers, a new landmark along Lower Main.
“We parked at the harbor for four days,” Miyahira says. “It was too hard to move the boat everyday. So we were in Kihei doing Bruddah Willie Sticky Ribs, but he only had a few weeks there. This year has been really tough. So when we found this spot with Vosburg, we were ready to try again.”
I recently dropped by to pick up dinner on the way home and the sushi was spot on. Miyahira is a stickler for quality control, and it shows. You can order sushi from inside Playmakers and Heidi runs it in, or you can drive by and pick up and have a cocktail while you wait. Wayne’s fusion rolls are a family favorite combining his housemade sauces, impeccable seasonings, seafood, tempura and skills.
Vosburg plans to have a one-year anniversary bash for Playmakers on Feb. 22, so save the date.
“I’m really happy doing what I am doing here,” says Vosburg. “There are great people. No tourists, all regulars. You see the same people all the time. So far, no complaints, no fights, really smooth. The support is overwhelming–knock on wood! I love Maui and I love Wailuku. I’m very fortunate.”
Playmakers Sports Bar
928 L. Main St., Wailuku
Wayne’s Sushi Fresh Off the Boat
928 L. Main St., Wailuku