MIDDLE OF IT ALL . . . Central Maui is starting to snap, crackle and cook these days with new restaurants.
Fiji Indian Food is enticing diners with its exotic tastes in the Main Street Promenade building in Wailuku. Since early October, it's been open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Owner Sarojini Harris will also come in on Sundays for special orders and private parties, when asked.
Harris bakes fresh roti (bread), does vegan sauces, buys organic and can make brown rice upon request.
Celebrated chef Michael Mina will appear at the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival in June along with Dallas Chef Dean Fearing.
Photo courtesy Michael Mina
Full plates with, say, lamb curry and aaloo chana (chickpeas and potatoes) include dahl (lentil soup) and two sides, such as Fiji salad and pickle of the day.
Also of Indian heritage from Fiji, Harish Singh will open his new restaurant in the old Papa Toad's Broke Da Mouth on Alamaha Street in Kahului, hopefully by the end of this week. Called Singh's Curry House, it will serve madras beef, garlic naan, eggplant curry with chutney and even bananas Foster for dessert. It's mostly a takeout, but he's putting up some outdoor tables next to the canal and under the monkeypod.
Java Bee will celebrate its grand opening Sunday at 291 Hookahi St. in the Wailuku Industrial Area. Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., it brews coffee, espresso and tea, blends fresh smoothies, and makes sandwiches, salads and pastry selections.
Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email email@example.com.
A veggie burger wholesaler, Life Foods, will take over the old Maui Bake Shops spot on Vineyard Street, Wailuku.
"We will make and sell organic, non-GMO, vegan, soy-free and gluten-free veggie patties," says Brian Deem, who hopes to open the outlet around the first of the year. "Even our condiments such as mayo, ketchup and mustard will be probiotic with fermented vegetables."
The owners of a Vineyard Street catering and takeout business plan to morph into a breakfast and lunch restaurant called Cafe Central Wailuku by Monday morning on Market Street in Wailuku, going into the Olde Wailuku Grill.
Willie and Lorna Bumanglag will serve breakfast weekdays from 7:30 to 10 a.m., and lunch items such as their signature hamburger steak, mango-barbecue pork ribs, and their No. 1 seller of Cajun-seared ahi salad from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Dragonfly Chinese Restaurant is open next to Sassy Nails at 1063 Lower Main St. in Wailuku in the same building as famous Tokyo Tei for lunch, dinner and late-night bar fun.
BITS AND PIECES . . . At long last, a restaurant plans to open in the Bin 69 spot in the Wailea Town Center. The owner-chef of Matteo's Osteria hopes to be running with his fabulous Italian fare by mid-December, sans his liquor license, until approval early next year.
"I'm very excited," says Matteo Mistura, a native of the Liguria region of Italy, whom many of you know from his former Matteo's Pizzeria in Wailea. "We're still planning the concept. It will be a combination of my old tastes with new antipastini, more high-end with table service. We hired a professional pastry chef, too."
Chile Asados Mexican restaurant is going into the former Ziriguidan at Azeka Mauka in Kihei.
In Lahaina, Cilantro Mexican Grill will close its doors on Saturday. "We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to say alohadios before we go," says owner Paris Nabavi. "And, it gives us a chance to welcome them to our new venture, Sangrita Grill and Cantina, in Kaanapali."
Sangrita will embrace the soul of Mexican cooking in the Fairway Shops and pour the island's largest selection of artisanal tequila and mezcal, when it opens its doors early next year. Ole!
Pizza Hut, the world's largest pizza chain with more than 12,500 restaurants across 91 countries, swept the 2013 Excellence in Marketing Awards recently.
Pacific Whale Foundation will present its annual Welcome Home the Whales party Saturday. Whale-watch cruises will depart from both Maalaea and Lahaina harbors at numerous times, and you'll also get happy hour prices all day on appetizers, flame-fired pizzettes, local brewery beer, wine, tea and lemonade at Porto, PWF's artisan pizzeria in Maalaea.
The granddaddy of 'em all, the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, announces it will uncork a ton of fun June 12 to 15 at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
"I know I say this every year, but next year, the wines are really going to be stellar," says planner Karin Sagar. "We'll bring in winemakers from the Santa Lucia highlands, the Pacific Northwest, and the Italians are coming, too!"
Acclaimed chefs Michael Mina and Dean Fearing will do cooking luncheons with fine wines, of course. I dined at Mina's new Pub 1842 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and it was off the charts. Fearing also elevates food to new heights in Dallas. Book tickets soon, as Maui continues to snap, crackle and pop with excitement.