Makawao likes to brand itself an Upcountry paniolo or cowboy town, but I knew things changed when the first espresso machine came to town several years ago. Its false-front architecture would still be at home on the range, but Makawao has gone resort hip with trendy boutiques, art galleries, gourmet delis and latte at every corner, it seems.
Some things do remain unchanged. T. Komoda Store and Bakery still dispenses the best cream puffs and stick doughnuts on Maui, maybe in the country. The Rodeo General Store looks like horses should be hitched out front, but you’ll find gourmet salads and custom roasted coffee inside. Think kale that tastes good. Polli’s has been dishing up tacos and burritos on red-checkered cloths forever.
Night life in Makawao takes place at Casanova Restaurant, where live entertainment keep things hopping Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Casanova has a deli for breakfast and lunch, a great stop to or from Haleakala, and the restaurant with a long menu of Italian classics.
Makawao is a crossroads between Maui’s center and Upcountry. Don’t just pass through. Spend a few hours.