Driving New Business

Founded in 1955, Pukalani Superette is a popular pit stop for Upcountry residents, who head to the prepared foods section for its chili chicken, chow fun and tako poke – lomi’d just right.

But people who don’t live Upcountry always had to go the extra mile up Haleakala for its country fare. Now, its new delivery van is going holoholo, driving in more business.

“Our whole thing has been lately, ‘How do we get our foods to other parts of the island?’ ” says Jerry Masaki, the store’s general manager. “So we bought a new van and we’ve launched a new delivery service for Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea and Kapalua. Of course, we’ll also deliver to other Upcountry towns such as Haiku, Makawao and Kula. The only places we won’t go is all the way to Hana and Keanae as well to Kahakuloa.”

He also requests you place catering orders ahead of time for parties and other functions.

“We’ll deliver, but there will be a minimum,” says Masaki. “The best way to check out the details is to go to our website.”

Masaki brought in Jamie Dicenzo as one of his first hires in 2001, after the kitchen opened for afternoon service, and now she’s worked her way up the ladder to kitchen manager.

Dicenzo says that the store’s chili chicken is the top -selling item.

“Our mouthwatering chili chicken is what we are famous for,” says Dicenzo. “And, you have a choice of thighs or drums. The chicken is fried and dipped in our secret sauce.”

Thickly sliced roast pork is also “broke da mouth.” “The roast pork with brown gravy is so tender, it just melts in your mouth,” says Dicenzo. “This week, we have six full pans on order.”

Upcountry people have always been known to order the roast pork, the chow fun and the teriyaki meat. People who live on the mountain like thick pork slices, not shredded meat, says Masaki.

“People down country order chili chicken and also inquire about our famous tako poke. They like kalua pork other shredded meats. No slices. It’s funny how it works that way.”

“The chow fun is the right side dish to go with all of our meats,” says Dicenzo. “It certainly gives our rice competition! We make it all day long and we keep it simple with just julienne carrots, green onions and pork hash. Kids love it.”

Pukalani Superette has been employing the “Tako Lady” for decades. But she’s so shy, she doesn’t want to be named.

“Since 1976, she’s been at the tako station, so we call her the Tako Lady,” says Dicenzo. “She boils it and lomis it and adds lipoa, shoyu, sesame oil and green and sweet onions and some other of our secret ingredients. It’s so ono.”

Of course, since this is the new year, resolutions of eating healthier fare are on many people’s agendas. “So we make vegetable stir-frys with red and green bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions and even tomatoes on request,” says Dicenzo.

“We also do Hawaiian foods such as kalua pig, chicken laulau, lomilomi salmon and chicken long rice, and we steam white rice.”

Masaki adds that, “We came up with this delivery service because it’s easier than opening another store on island. It’s a way to get our food around to Maui towns, and it allows us to give good prices on plates, forks, cups and chafing dish rentals.”

For more details, call 572-7616 or visit the website at www.pukalanisuperette.com.