Think Italian

Marco’s Grill & Deli ‘holding its own’ after 24 successful years with new chef and specials

Marco’s new Chef Cory Moscutt showcases two of the house specialties, linguine and meatballs and Greek salad. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

With all of the new roadways built in Kahului in recent years that redirect traffic for better airport flow, Marco’s Grill & Deli is still holding its own after 24 years of successful business.

The fact is, Marco’s is still in the thick of things in its prime spot on the corner of Hana Highway and Dairy Road and it’s still as convenient as it gets to the airport and the big box stores. You also can’t help but pass it heading from Kahului to the North Shore and Upcountry.

The food? It’s as quality driven as ever with signature items such as vodka rigatoni laced with imported prosciutto and sauteed garlic in pink cream sauce, fresh Caesar salads, and hot Reubens piled high with corned beef on rye. Of course, the signature tiramisu beckons as a dessert with a big cup of house coffee, made for Marco’s by Maui Coffee Roasters.

Now, owner Marco Defanis has hired new Chef Cory Moscutt, born and raised on Maui and a young man already raising five, count ’em, children.

“Cory is great,” says Defanis, a native of Philadelphia who started as a restaurateur and butcher on the Mainland before moving to Maui back in the day.

Spumoni ice cream cake is a triple threat of flavor laced in chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream, one of numerous desserts in the display case. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

“In fact, Cory used to work for me for five years about six years ago. He most recently cooked for Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas,” explains Defanis. “He really knows how to expertly prepare our menu standouts, like the house meatballs made with chuck roll beef and pork butts, mixed with bread crumbs and herbs. He also nails the marinara sauce, our secret weapon.”

While Marco’s serves the same menu for lunch and dinner from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily, the team is ready to roll out specials for evening enjoyment only.

“Now that Cory is here, we’ll be rolling out specials, offering something different at night for regulars,” says Defanis, known for his tried-and-true signature items, such as the grilled salmon on bow-tie pasta tossed with sugar-snap peas; and chicken parmigiano with mozzarella and marinara.

Soon, you’ll be able to sink your teeth into specials such as braised short-rib ragu, which is a beefy tomato sauce over linguine, and half a roasted chicken. Defanis and Moscutt have been busy back in the kitchen coming up with fresh ideas.

“Cory brings with him such an extensive culinary background,” says Marco’s General Manager Dan Egnatchik. “He really has an excellent vision, just like Marco does, and he maintains the integrity of the ingredients that we use here.”

Clams are sauteed with garlic, wine and butter and infused in a spicy natural clam broth over a bed of linguine. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

The Caesar salad is consistently rated high among Maui diners and other favorites are the stuffed tomato, the Italian salad and the blue-cheese wedge.

Popular appetizers are the stuffed roasted red pepper, the spinach and artichoke dip, the spicy fried calamari, and the buffalo wings with crisp celery sticks and creamy blue cheese sauce for dipping. Sit in the cool lounge, watch the game on TV, meet up with friends and sip a martini or swirl a big glass of red wine. Other beverages range from fresh smoothies to espresso.

Soul-satisfying deli sandwiches are piled high and include the hot pastrami, the Italian sausage, the grilled mahimahi and the tuna melt with tomatoes.

Craving breakfast? Choose from classic eggs Benedict, New York steak and eggs, and the veggie omelette.

Super hungry? Order the Big Lebowski: Two eggs with your choice of ham or bacon, Portuguese sausage or breakfast sausage and one buttermilk pancake with oven-roasted potatoes and your choice of wheat, white or rye bread. Yes, Marco’s is still holding its own after 24 years.


Marco’s at a glance:

• Hours: Open for breakfast from 7:30 to noon Mondays to Fridays and to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; The same lunch and dinner menu is served from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

• Where: Located at 444 Hana Highway on the corner of Dairy Road in Kahului.

• Breakfast deals: Wake up to two eggs, potatoes and toast for $5.95. Other favorites are classic eggs Benedict, the Big Lebowski, chocolate-chip pancakes and New York steak and eggs

• Signature items: Roasted red pepper stuffed with eggplant and provolone, spicy fried calamari, steamed clams, fettuccine Alfredo, vodka rigatoni, shrimp scampi and veal parmigiano.

• Dessert: Housemade tiramisu, Lovin’ Spoonful fudge cake and ice cream, white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

• For more details: Call Marco’s at 877-4446.