Hali’imaile General Store, Maui

After a day spent in Haleakala National Park hiking through bamboo forests, picnicking at the foot of Waimoku Falls, and swimming in Ohe’o Gulch, we drove on the windy road back from Hana. We stopped at Ulupalakua Ranch for a bison burger, sipped pineapple wine at MauiWine, checked into Lumeria Spa + Yoga Retreat, and took a quick nap in the hammock garden.

Waimoku Falls

As you can imagine, by this time, we were hungry. We showered up and headed to Hali’imaile General Store in Makawao for a Hipstorical dinner.

Tucked away in the pineapple fields on the lower slopes of Haleakala, Hali’imaile General Store is not what you might think upon hearing the name. Let me explain.

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The pineapple boom of the 1920s bought thousands of immigrants to Maui. Camp houses were built across the Upcountry of the island for plantation workers, and Hali’imaile General Store came next.

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The store was opened in 1925 as a grocery, butcher shop, fish market, and post office, and it has operated continuously in similar forms. That is until 1988 when the building was leased by Bev Gannon, chef and owner of a local catering business, and her husband Joe.

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Bev and Joe transformed the General Store into a gourmet take-out deli and general store. Today it is an award-winning restaurant serving American cuisine with an Asian flair. Its island-inspired dishes are made with fresh, local ingredients—something that Chef Gannon is passionate about.

The General Store, just like any perfect Hipstorical, has kept the original façade and even the name! Curious about the name? Hali’i means “a covering or blanket,” and Maile is the name for the native, fragrant plant that once covered the area.

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The restaurant still evokes the original feel of an old general store, with shelves of plates, bowls, and other commodities on display beckoning for you to purchase them from the general store owner, watch him package them  up in brown paper and tie the package up with string, and take it home to your pineapple plantation home to use lovingly for years to come. The General Store does it right—down to details like the Ball jar water glasses.

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And the food, oh—the food. Bev’s “Famous” Crab Pizza: Handmade six-inch pizza crust with the “I’ll never tell” crab topping. The Yuzu-Kabayaki Glazed Grilled Salmon with coconut red Thai sticky rice and baby bok choy. The salmon nearly melted in my mouth, and the coconut red Thai sticky rice was like nothing I’ve tasted before and simply delicious. My mouth is watering as I think back to it now.

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Chef Gannon—well done. You’ve created a unique and inventive space that preserves the integrity and honors the history of the place’s original purpose. It was a pleasure to visit the General Store, and a “must” for anyone passing through on the way back from Hana.

Thanks so much to Charlene from Kauhane Inc for the recommendation!

Suggestions for more hipstorical places in Hawaii? Email me and help me build my archives!