Stella Blues Cafe started off humbly and in another spot in Kihei. It was a hip, little eatery, named after the founder's favorite Grateful Dead song.
After moving almost a decade ago to its prime spot at Azeka Mauka shopping center off South Kihei Road and Piikea Street, it just keeps on truckin.'
The next generation runs the show, and they always have something new on their plates. These days, it's a lively breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant with a new chef, menu items, fun dinner shows and a full slate of catering.
“I’m changing a few things on the dinner menu, but nothing drastic,” says new Executive Chef Josh Brumblay. “Because Stella Blues Cafe is already so famous for what it serves. Even though I have a background in fine dining, I’m going to keep it casual and fun. Savor free-range chicken, which I first stuff with ham and pepper-jack cheese, serve with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables and then finish in red-pepper cream sauce.”
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Josh Brumblay is our new chef," says Cindy Eiting, a partner in the business with Kale Boverman. "He's a Maui boy, who went to Baldwin High School, and then he went away to Napa to the Culinary Institute of America, where he put the classic polishes on his career."
In recent years, Brumblay has cooked at Five Palms Beach Grill in Keawakapu, and for Nick's Fishmarket at Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea.
"I am excited to be heading the Stella's team," says Brumblay. "I am happy to be reacquainted with my good friend and staff manager, Sergio Oliveira, from back in my old Carelli's on the Beach days. I am also looking forward to rolling out a new menu which will still have the home-style comfort food that Stella's is known for, and I'll add my own flare to step it up a bit."
What: Stella Blues Cafe, a casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, fun lounge, dinner shows and full-service catering.
Where: 1279 S. Kihei Road, Azeka Mauka shopping Center in Kihei. You will find plenty of free parking.
Hours: Open daily. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. on weekdays and until 1 p.m. weekends. Lunch runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.; dinner is 5 p.m. until closing.
Happy hour: Dive into reasonably priced chicken wings, fish and chips, quesadillas, taquitos, shrimp cocktail and more. Prices are $5 to $10. You may sip domestic beer for $2; imports, $3; well drinks and wines, $4; and mai tais and margaritas, $5.
Menu highlights: Tofu scramble and wavy gravy loco moco; spinach and Greek salads; house hummus; New York steaks, and yellow veggie and tofu curry.
For reservations: Call 874-3779; for more details, visit the website at www.stellablues.com.
New dishes rolling out of the kitchen as I write this include sesame-encrusted fresh fish with shiitake mushrooms, sake, and soy butter sauce with steamed white rice and baby bok choy; and jerk-spiced grilled pork chop with mashed potatoes, asparagus and pineapple-rum sauce.
Brumblay is also doing justice to his new free-range chicken that he stuffs with ham and pepper-jack cheese and serves with mashed potatoes, vegetables and finishes with roasted red-pepper cream sauce. Sip a nice glass of wine and you'll think you're in a fine-dining restaurant.
After all, fine dining is his specialty. Lucky for diners, Stella Blue's prices are more moderate, in the cafe range.
"Stella's has an amazing wine list with pricing significantly lower than you will find other places," says Eiting.
House wines are $6 a glass and you will find bottles of both red and white starting around the $24 range.
In addition, Stella's is rocking these days on a regular basis with dinner shows. We were fortunate to catch Amy Hanaiali'i with her brother, Eric Gilliom, and Michael Ruff performing funk and Hawaiian to a sea of other performers in the room.
"Our next big show is John Cruz. August 26 and 27,"?Eiting says. " We're very excited to have some of Hawaii's best performers join us at Stella's Supper Clubs. Names like Paula Fuga, Makana and Barry Flanagan. For only $60, you get a fabulous four- course dinner and a show."
Every Wednesday from 7 to 10 p.m., you may also chill to saxophonist David Choy and his group of amazing musicians that jam with him. No cover charge.
"We're doing tons and tons of catering, too," says Eiting. "We do off-site weddings and we also have our fabulous back room for company Christmas parties and other private functions."
You may do appetizers passed or plated, such as ahi poke on saimin spoons, stuffed mushroom caps, mini Caprese skewers with balsamic reductions and more. Or order soup shots, from gazpacho to chilled sweet melon with prosciutto.
"We also have catering buffets such as the Atlantis, the Neptune and the prime rib, priced from $38 to $48 per person. We even have a display station of appetizers. You get a selection of three for $12 per person. We are getting really big in Maui's catering world and look forward to serving you here or at your off-site venue."