Local businesses are what make a place truly special. The national chains on Maui offer both convenience and consistency, but it’s the unique, only-on-Maui spots that truly make the Valley Isle special. Plus, when you shop local, you’re supporting the Maui families who depend on these businesses for their livelihood—and who make up the fabric of our community.
You’ll find locally-owned businesses all over the island, run by Maui-based artists, artisans, farmers, makers, chefs, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Below, you’ll find a list of our favorite spots—but they’re not the only ones, by any means. Consider this as a jumping-off point for exploring Maui on your own, one-of-a-kind business by one-of-a-kind business.
#1: Tasaka Guri Guri
Tucked in the Maui Mall, behind Long’s Drugs, you’ll find this family-owned guri guri shop, whose history dates all the way back to the 1920s (or further)! Guri guri is a kind of homemade sherbet, created from a secret family recipe that’s been passed from generation to generation of Tasaka family members. The shop regularly features strawberry and pineapple guri guri, with limited-edition flavors like lychee, key lime, and lilikoi. Those special runs never last long, so keep your eye on their Instagram for release announcements.
#2: Native Intelligence
Native Intelligence in Wailuku is more than a boutique. It evokes the spirit of an art gallery and the educational opportunities of a museum, all while showcasing Hawaiian culture and craftsmanship. With the goal of perpetuating Native Hawaiian traditions and values, Native Intelligence is a worthy stop on Maui. This is especially true in a time when it’s increasingly difficult to find made-in-Hawaii items that truly perpetuate authentic Hawaiian and Polynesian culture.
#3: Maui Fresh Streatery
Love him or hate him, Guy Fieri knows good food when he tastes it. So it’s no surprise that he featured Kyle Kawakami’s food truck—Maui Fresh Streatery—on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Kawakami, Maui Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, turns out ʻono dishes most Friday nights from Big Red, his food truck, often with assistance from his family. The innovative chef is always putting out new specials but keep an eye out for these community favorites: his okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake; furikake garlic chicken; and kamikaze loaded fries.
#4: Request Music
If you’re nostalgic for the days of visiting music stores and flipping through their bins with all the focus and determination of a treasure hunter, head over to Request Music. The store is chock full of current and vintage vinyl—and don’t miss their basement, home to thousands of bargains for those willing to shuffle through the inventory. The store also stocks used movies and CDs, as well as vintage posters. You’ll also find a corner occupied by Maui Comics, where you can snag comic books, graphic novels, and other memorabilia. If you’re sitting on a record collection, Request does buy used vinyl. They also host smaller shows in their shop, providing Maui with another much-needed music venue.
#5: Tin Roof
While its storefront off Dairy Road is unremarkable, the food coming out behind Tin Roof’s tiny counter is nothing short of extraordinary. Under the supervision of Hilo-born chef and Top Chef alum Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof puts out some of the best mochiko chicken you’ll find on Maui. The other dishes—including saimin and the pork belly kau kau tin—are also excellent, but don’t skip the mochiko chicken. Tin Roof is almost always busy, so order ahead for fast pickup.
#6: Hoʻomana Spa
A serene setting is everything when it comes to a truly relaxing spa experience. You’ll find Hoʻomana Spa nestled into a quiet, lush area of Upcountry Maui, where Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner Jeana Iwalani Naluai has created a truly immersive experience. We highly recommend booking an authentic Hawaiian lomi lomi massage and letting the rhythmic movements gently but powerfully realign your body. Naluai also trains students in lomi lomi and other Hawaiian healing practices. If that calls to you, keep an eye on their schedule for upcoming training opportunities.
#7 & #8: Bully’s Burgers & Ulupalakua Ranch
ʻUlupalakua Ranch Store
14800 Piʻilani Highway
Kula, HI 96790
15900 Piʻilani Highway
Kula, HI 96790
On the southern slopes of Mt. Haleakalā, you’ll find not one, but two excellent spots to get a ranch-to-table burger. Whether you decide to stop at the ʻUlupalakua Ranch Store, conveniently located across from MauiWine, or the Triple L Ranch, home of Bully’s Burgers, you truly can’t go wrong. Both feature delicious burgers from cattle raised right on the surrounding slopes—and you’ll enjoy an unforgettable view of Maui’s coastline while you munch.
#9: Da Playground
The closing of Charlie’s in Pāʻia left a serious hole in Maui’s live music scene. Da Playground stepped up to fill that hole, with a dynamic calendar of live music, concerts, comedy, and nightlife events. Maui is definitely not known for its nightlife, so Da Playground stands out as one of the few places you can go on the island to dance to a DJ set. They also gave their food menu a recent facelift, so it’s a great time to stop in, grab a drink and a bite, and take in a show.
#10: Vida by Sip Me Maui
After leaving their old spot on Baldwin Avenue, fans of the first incarnation of Sip Me eagerly awaited its return. There was just something about the laid-back vibe and carefully crafted coffee beverages that made Sip Me special. When the shop reopened as Vida by Sip Me Maui, many were thrilled to see that same atmosphere in their new spot, which is still in the heart of charming Makawao town. Stop in for a smooth-as-silk latte or grab a bag of their excellent coffee to go. Neither one will disappoint!
#11: Biasa Rose
You’ll find a number of fun boutiques on Hāna Highway in Pāʻia. We recommend popping into Biasa Rose to peruse the wide variety of items they have available—clothing, books, soaps, candles, jewelry, and even consignment clothes. You’ll also find a nice selection of Hawaii-made items in the store. If you’re looking for a gift for someone special—or a memorable souvenir for someone back home—Biasa Rose should be your first stop in Pāʻia. (And if you’re hungry, grab a fish taco from Pāʻia Fish Market, just a few doors down!)
#12: Matteo’s Osteria
Tucked back into Wailea Town Center, Matteo’s offers absolutely delicious Italian cuisine, attentive service, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, making it one of our favorite places to enjoy a special meal on Maui. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’ll appreciate the care that owners Matteo and Gianna Mistura have put into their wine list. Chef Matteo was born and raised in Italy, and his facility in the kitchen is reflected in the restaurant’s multiple ‘Aipono Awards. Our favorites at Matteo’s include the fettuccine frutti di mare with fresh black ink squid pasta and the gamberi del diavolo, spicy tiger prawns. Both will have you mopping up the remnants of Matteo’s delicious sauces that you can’t bear to leave behind.
#13: The Country Market at Waikapū
You’ll find this collaboration between Kumu Farms and Maui ʻOma Coffee Roasting Company on the Maui Tropical Plantation, which you may know as the home of the Mill House Restaurant. The shop showcases fresh food and gifts from local ranchers, farmers, and artists. Snag a coffee at their café and savor the fresh roast as you peruse all the made- and grown-on-Maui items.
#14: Esters Fair Prospect
If you’re a fan of Honolulu’s cocktail scene —or just a fan of a thoughtfully crafted cocktail—make a stop at Esters. The bartenders serve a mean daiquiri. If you’ve spent time drinking yours out of a slushie machine, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their recipe, which strips the drink down to its classic configuration of rum, lime, and sugar. Choose to sit inside and admire the funky, transportive décor or outside on the patio to take in views of ʻIao Valley. Wherever you sit—and whatever you drink—there are no wrong choices at Esters.
Enjoying Maui’s Best, One Spot at a Time
There’s just something about Maui, something that draws people back to the island again and again. (Sometimes for good!) The people who live on Maui—and the businesses they run—are a huge part of what makes the Valley Isle so special. By supporting these (and other!) local businesses, you’re helping to keep Maui a vibrant place that’s like no place else.
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