Rodeo General Store
3661 Baldwin Ave., Makawao
When I lived in Makawao town, Rodeo General Store was my go-to spot for groceries. Back then it was a quaint country store. In 2008, the store got new owners, Dean Sturman, Darren Jones, Paul Lamparelli and Mike Fisher, and a major facelift, and morphed into a full-on corner market and deli. And every time I drop by the store it just keeps getting better. It started with a few morning stops for their hot organic coffee, breakfast burritos and English muffin ham and egg sandwiches. Next I was picking up my health food goods like Bob’s Red Mill golden flaxseed meal and gluten-free tortillas. But my tried and true attraction to this store has been the deli, which serves up consistently delicious take-out.
“I buy local products first,” says deli manager Mike Fisher. “Our goal is to provide good food fast, keeping our quality standards and offering them at the best price possible.” These goals are evident in products like the eggplant napoleon—a stack of caramelized onions and tomato over a thick slice of dreamy eggplant topped by a scoop of seasoned goat cheese garnished with sliced roasted garlic. A vegetarian delight that impressed even this decidedly unvegetarian meat eater.
The deli also has an amazing varieties of salads, from pasta to beet to bean. I counted more than 20. Rodeo General has a way with kale, a food that I barely know how to wash, much less prepare. Kale is so good for you, yet I rarely see it on any menus—it seems most chefs steer clear of it. Try the kale Cesar salad; the strong leafs holds up well under the heavy flavors of the Cesar dressing while the dressing seems to mellow the strong texture of the kale. Another favorite is the beet salad, and they have plain steamed beets in the case as well.
The sandwiches feature natural, preservative-free meats. The hot bento bar that sits in front of the open doorway has grab-and-go fresh made local favorites like meatloaf, teri chicken, kalua pork, enchiladas and chow fun, also made with natural and local ingredients at lunchtime and dinner. One of their newest items is a hot dinner take-out for two for $19.99, or for one at $11.99. This is the ultimate hot food fast evening meal. Up on the counter you can find their lineup of dinners, a different item every night, like full turkey dinners on Thursdays with cranberry, mashed potatoes and stuffing, or next week Wednesday’s Mediterranean roast leg of lamb, tatziki, pita bread, dolmas and quinoa tabouli. All are served with green salad, dressing and homemade dinner rolls. I’m already strategizing my weekly meal plans around their pick-up dinner menu.
Rodeo General also has a cutting-edge selection of raw foods, dips like their famous carrot cashew pate and all the desserts your sweet tooth can handle. Baker Sha-nan is an artisan in vegan baking. (Somehow that makes the sugar guilt-free for me.) The clever names like marzipan mistress and double coconut jumpoff make them more fun, but it’s the taste that counts—with one bite you could be converted vegan, if only for the duration of the dessert. You don’t miss the animal products here—texture and richness intact, I’d swear they were sneaking in butter and eggs if I didn’t know better.
It’s refreshing to see another Maui food business dedicated to keeping it local and supporting other local businesses. Their food retail shelves feature so many locally produced items it’s astonishing, and when you add the convenience and, above all, quality, you’ve got a lot more than your average general store.
Got a hot food scoop? Contact Jen Russo at 808-280-3386 or fax to 808-244-0446