comscore It’s a food-to-go-go despite restaurants closing due to coronavirus | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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It’s a food-to-go-go despite restaurants closing due to coronavirus

  • CARLA TRACY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Down to Earth manager Sarah Hoppe says she’s smiling under the tie-dye mask, bringing some levity to these serious times. The Kahului store now offers personal shopping and curbside pickup to keep customers at a safe distance.

    CARLA TRACY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Down to Earth manager Sarah Hoppe says she’s smiling under the tie-dye mask, bringing some levity to these serious times. The Kahului store now offers personal shopping and curbside pickup to keep customers at a safe distance.

  • COURTESY A‘A ROOTS CAFE
                                The all-vegan A‘a Roots Cafe in Napili is open for takeout breakfast and lunch daily except Wednesdays. Choose from creamy avocado toast to acai bowls filled with farm-to-curb freshness.

    COURTESY A‘A ROOTS CAFE

    The all-vegan A‘a Roots Cafe in Napili is open for takeout breakfast and lunch daily except Wednesdays. Choose from creamy avocado toast to acai bowls filled with farm-to-curb freshness.

I don’t want to be a party pooper, but analysts are predicting that 75% of independent restaurants nationwide that have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic won’t survive, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Despite the dire prediction, some Hawaii chefs are banding together (at a respectful distance, of course) to stay afloat. The new foodagogo.org website lists restaurants now serving takeout, delivery and curbside pickup. Take note that it’s not a comprehensive list and that closures continue to happen by the day. Just click to see what’s cooking on Maui.

Food-A-Go-Go sponsor Hawaii Agricultural Foundation announced Thursday that Hawaiian Airlines’ Bank of Hawaii Elite Mastercard is joining the campaign with its 30-Day Countdown Instagram Sweepstakes running through April 30. Ten random daily winners will be awarded with a $100 gift card from participating restaurants. On May 1 a grand-prize winner will be announced.

Here’s how it works: Post a photo of a foodagogo.org dish or restaurant. Follow @hiagfdn. Tag #foodagogo, #everyordercounts and #HALmastercard in the post. No purchase is necessary, but the point is to support restaurants and not use old pics. Limit one entry per person, per day.

At Napili Plaza, A‘a Roots Cafe is open for curbside takeout during breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except Wednesdays. It is the only all-vegan cafe on island.

“We use no honey, no butter, no eggs,” says owner-chef Maria Maither. “We have a table outside the door. People can no longer come inside. We do rotating specials like Indian Mondays and Taco Tuesdays with jackfruit, potato or bean fillings. It’s going to be a tough road. But I have a lot of good farmers and the food is as fresh as it gets.” To order, call 298-2499.

Other Maui restaurants remaining open for takeout only that are listed on foodagogo.org include Cafe Moon Asian Kitchen in Kihei, Casanova Italian Restaurant in Makawao (nightly dinner to-go from 4 to 8 p.m.) and Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina.

Speaking of Taco Tuesdays, get free nacho cheese Doritos Locos Tacos on Tuesdays at Taco Bell in Kahului as part of a national campaign to end childhood hunger.

Krispy Kreme in Kahului is open with drive-thru service from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Doctors and other medical professionals get free doughnuts on Mondays. For more details, call 893-0883.

KEEPIN’ IT LIGHT

Down to Earth in Kahului has instituted special shopping hours from 7 to 8 a.m. daily for kupuna and those with preexisting medical conditions. Plus, items usually found on the hot and cold bars are all now pre-packed in sealed containers, and you can buy made-to-order sandwiches, smoothies, juices and wheatgrass shots at the deli counter. The team wears gloves and colorful masks in fun prints, from tie-dye to American flags.

“They bring a little bit of levity to our everyday duties,” said store manager Sarah Hoppe. “We have implemented curbside pickup, too. Email or call us, and we can do the shopping for you. Call us when you get here, and then we’ll bring it out and load it into your car.”

Email kahuluipersonalshopper@downtoearth.org or call 877-2661.

DTE also posted a 21-day, full-body home-workout challenge on Instagram (@downtoearthhi). The chart includes exercise suggestions and rep counts for everything from jumping jacks to squats to wall-sits.

SERVING UP ALOHA

With the help of Mama’s Fish House, S&J Bakery and others, chef Kyle Kawakami gave free meals to laid-off hospitality employees from his food truck location at Ultimate Air Maui Trampoline Park in Wailuku.

“This pandemic is a rally cry for us to help each other and be compassionate and show aloha,” said Kawakami, who owns the Maui Fresh Streatery food truck.

“The Mama’s people were such angels,” he continued. “Their ‘little bit of food’ turned out to be an entire pickup truckful. S&J supplied bread. We are still open but only one day a week now. We’ve had to readjust our business model now. Our food is all precooked and chilled, and packed and labeled. We call it zero-contact service.”

Basically, while customers stay in their vehicles, Kawakami comes over and takes their orders, handing them sanitizing wipes for their hands and credit cards. He processes the payment and assemble orders in his food truck. When ready, Kawakami places the orders on a table and then steps back into the food truck so customers can grab their food and reheat it at home. He prefers not to accept pre- or phone orders.

The food changes weekly, but popular dishes include sauteed mahimahi amandine, Greek gyro bowls and pork belly and hominy green chili verde.

Kawakami also is working with local growers such as Okoa Farms and Kumu Farm and isle fish purveyors, and his Maui Fresh Streatery food truck site is fast becoming a hub where you can also pick up produce, prepared meals and fresh fish to cook at home. Yet it’s still a one-man show with Kawakami selling the Community Supported Agricultural boxes for the farmers and fishers all by his lonely. He’s open from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays. For more details, visit Instagram @mauifreshstreatery or call 344-7929.

PRIME TAKEOUT CHOICE

Executive chef Zach Sato (of the temporarily closed Hotel Wailea) is doing meal deliveries. He created a recent takeout feast for four that included pasta Bolognese with fresh ricotta, local romaine with blue cheese and boquerone (white anchovy) dressing with Parmesan-Reggiano cheeses, and roasted garlic and soft herb-cheese baguettes. Cost was $40. Direct-message him on Instagram at @satocooks to see what he is cooking this week.

Maui Prime Fine Foods in Lahaina is doing take-and-bake steamer pots with halibut or salmon, lemon-herb aioli, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes for $19.95. You can also order half a lobster with the same trimmings for $18.95.

“We are trying to keep it real easy for everyone,” said Maui Prime manager Jason Mahon. “We’re trying to stay open for as long as we can.” To order ahead, call 661-4912.


Veteran journalist Carla Tracy pops the cork on Maui’s dining and entertainment scene in her weekly column. Email her at carlatracy808@gmail.com.


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