Destination: Hawaii: Maui
Hali’imaile General Store
This wonderful neighborhood joint was founded in 1988 by Bev Gannon, former road manager for Liza Minnelli. After moving to Maui in 1980, she worked as a caterer until starting the Hali’imaile General Store in the middle of a pineapple field in the Upcountry. A half hour’s drive from Wailea, the little clapboard restaurant–general store is well worth the effort it takes to get there. Perhaps the fact that the Maui News voted Gannon the best chef on Maui in 2007 says it all. Her menu is eclectic: crab pizza, a raw bar, macadamia-nut-crusted fresh catch, and Paniolo Ribs with mashed potatoes. In short, it puts a creative spin on Hawaiian regional cuisine, and everyone raves about it; our concierge at the Four Seasons called it a must. On any given night, at least a third of the customers are locals. Many sit at the bar, the neighborhood’s social center. After dinner, check out the regional art and pottery that comprise the general-store part of the restaurant. This not only is a good time but also gives you a glimpse of the scene in this part of the island.
I admit up front that I have a soft spot for Kimo’s because I was at its opening in 1977, during my stint in Lahaina. The island favorite, located along the waterfront on the town’s main street, quickly became a hangout for my friends and me. Kimo’s was a good time then, and it appears to be doing just as well today (even if it’s a bit more touristy). Steaks and seafood are simply prepared and very good if a bit formulaic. Think Chart House and you’ll have an idea of the flavor of the place. The bar scene was wild in its day and may have settled down a bit, but the piña coladas are just as tasty. The Hula Pie (macadamia nut ice cream on a chocolate cookie crust with fudge) is a must for those with a sweet tooth.
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