Locals and tourists flock to Kihei Caffe for breakfast. The counter is manned by the owner, who oozes true Aloha spirit, and the service is fast (with a little less Aloha).
Order inside — you have to navigate a maze-like, roped-off line to get to the register — and then go find a seat. If you sit before you order, you actually mess with a system that works really well. (You also risk being scolded by a server.)
This island version of a greasy spoon has a view of Kalama Park and a slice of the ocean beyond, and serves no-frills breakfast and lunch dishes. We’re not huge fans of the average breakfast fare, but we come anyway because we can get in and out quickly, and the coffee is good. At the counter, you’ll be confronted with a tray of oven-hot sticky buns and cinnamon rolls slathered with creamy frosting. We appreciate that these and the muffins are baked in-house, rather than procured from Costco, as is the case with so many breakfast places. Fans praise the cinnamon roll French toast, a special that isn’t on the menu and only offered sometimes. We have to take their word on it, since we’ve never been there when it was available. The egg plates come with pretty good (if dense) biscuits, and the bacon is thick and tasty. The stack of three pancakes is fluffy and filling. The veggie scramble, a bowl-shaped medley of spinach mushrooms, bell peppers and more is a decent and substantial breakfast for vegetarians. (Vegans can request it sans eggs and cheese.) We recommend elsewhere for lunch.
The outdoor seating invariably puts us at the mercy of obnoxious sparrows, but that’s true at any of the outdoor restaurants on the island. What we don’t see anywhere else are the wild chickens that calmly forage under tables for dropped bits. The servers clear plates quickly to discourage the wildlife from feeding and to remind us that we shouldn’t linger when other diners need tables.
Address: 1945 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, South Maui
Location: Kalama Village across from the Whale
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Hours: Daily 5am-2pm
Parking: Lot, Street