Sometimes, the most unassuming places deliver the most surprisingly delicious dining experiences. For us, this was the case at Sunrise Cafe, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in Lahaina, on Maui’s West Coast. Located on Front Street, it’s a welcome low-key departure from the hustle and bustle of the main road. Just steps from the shore, the warm ocean breezes prepare you for a relaxed, leisurely dining experience before even entering the building.
The ambiance at Sunrise Cafe is decidedly understated, and it’s clear the tiny building has been well-loved over the years. The worn floors, wooden beamed ceiling, and simple furniture are definitely no-frills, but inviting, nonetheless. Open windows and an outdoor porch create an open-air feel. If you get lucky, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the ocean from your table.
But enough about the décor. People in the know come here for exactly one reason… the food. Family-owned and operated, Sunrise Cafe focuses on perfecting the basics and infusing them with local flair. Their breakfast menu is served all day and includes familiar items such as omelets, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and eggs benedict, as well as regional dishes like their legendary loco moco. Lunch features a variety of salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. In addition to fresh brewed local coffee and tea, quench your thirst with an assortment of juices, smoothies, and frozen (non-alcoholic) beverages.
While almost everything on the Sunrise Cafe menu tempted our taste buds, here are some of our must-try recommendations:
We’d be remiss to start with anything other than one of the café’s most popular items. Their riff on a Hawaiian classic, loco moco is a unique breakfast dish consisting of a homemade beef patty smothered in a mushroom and onion gravy, topped with two eggs, and served with a side of rice. Our favorite part was the flavorful gravy; it really ties together the whole plate.
They’re huge, they’re gooey, and they’re roughly the size of our faces. Infused with raisins, and topped with decadent maple syrup, it’s everything we want a cinnamon roll to be. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add freshly chopped macadamia nuts to take it to the next level.
Start with a fresh bagel. Add smoked salmon, poached eggs, and tomatoes, and then smother it with house-made lemon caper hollandaise sauce. Toss in a side of perfectly seasoned breakfast potatoes. What do you get? The stuff of our breakfast dreams. And an empty plate… because we didn’t leave a single bite!
If you want to start your day off with a healthy and tasty bang, give the pineapple boat a try. A generous serving of fresh-cut fruits like papaya, banana, kiwi, grapes, and watermelon is served in a hollowed-out half of a pineapple, making this dish not only delicious but also Instagram-worthy work of food art.
–Sunrise Cafe is strictly cash only. Make sure to bring some with you or stop at an ATM on Front Street before being seated.
-This place gets busy! Some mornings, a line forms before it even opens. Be prepared to wait for a table, or try it later in the day, once the crowds die down.
-Sunrise Cafe is family-run, and operates with a very small staff, out of an even smaller kitchen. This means that your dining experience might take a while. To be safe, plan on scheduling a couple of hours for breakfast here, and don’t plan to visit on days when you have other time-sensitive activities planned.