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Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe is a sweet spot in Kapalua

 

all photos courtesy of Sean Hower, howerphoto.com

Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe

villagecafeandsweetshoppe.com

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2000 Village Road

Lahaina, HI 97661

You probably don’t think of Kapalua as a place to head for a family restaurant, but that is exactly what I am going to tell you. The Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe opened in December and has a lot going on inside their space. Located in the Kapalua Village Center at the top of office road, this is a hub of activity, check in’s for the condos, the start of many trail heads for hiking in the area, and at the heart of the gathering area is the cafe.

Forefront when you walk in is the sweet shoppe counter slash barista coffee bar. Fresh baked goods tempt you on pretty platters, Roselani ice cream in twelve flavors plus toppings, and espresso drinks made with Maui coffee. Chalk menu boards over head tell you what is available. There is plenty of seating to choose from, there are couches and soft chairs in the lounge area in viewing distance to the flat screen tvs, this is also a great area to put your feet up and have a glass of wine or beer. Delve in a little further in and you will pass a gorgeous large buffet with flower arrangements and head into their big dining room area. Tables in dark wood with comfortable high backed woven chairs and high ceilings all around you give this room a lodge feeling in the evening. If you prefer al fresco, head through the double doors at the back of the room, in the day breathtaking views of North West Maui will join you.

The Village Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I brought my family for dinner on a Thursday night. Every night the cafe features a different themed dinner special for $22.75, like North Shore night on Saturday with coconut battered shrimp, and tailgate night on Friday with grilled skirt steaks and mac and cheese, all served with side dishes, soup or salad and ice cream inclusive.

My daughter was impressed by the crayons that were brought to keep her busy, they are triangle shaped and don’t roll off of the table, it was a nice detail. The keiki menu was extensive, there were eight items to choose from, like pasta, pancakes, yogurt and fruits, quesadilla, mac and cheese, and burgers. It looks like they got the memo: kids are persnickety eaters. Even better each item you can choose a side from the usual like french fries or fruit, to grown up items like green salad, and steamed veggies. The mac and cheese is the much loved style with skinny noodles and orange cheese, and veggies are a wonderful medley of fresh broccoli, asparagus, sweet pepper and zucchini. As picky as they are, my kid mowed through this dinner with zest not just because she loves broccoli, but to get to the dessert it comes with: Roselani ice cream and cookie.

 

My daughter and I share an affinity for calamari, so we ordered it here as a starter. We loved their version: dusted with a bit of cornmeal, crisp on the outside and served in strips. The jalepeno tarter is just what i want to dip it in, but it also has a . I also tried the artichoke dip starter, it comes to the table blazing hot with really crusty crostini.

For dinner the boys, photographer Sean Hower, and Tommy Russo started with the soup du jour, a mahi minestrone, both raved how good it was. Sean ordered the brisket while Tommy gambled on the special, Thursday is Southern night, fried chicken, mash potato and creamed peas. While the brisket was lovely, and the sauce on it was so good we wanted some for home, the fried chicken was voted the favorite with its crisp breading and tender juicy inside. We just couldn’t stop grabbing at his plate for samples.

i had the veggie lasagna that is served with ceasar salad. Baked in its own serving dish, it comes with a thick crust of cheese and lots of spinach. Seeing as I sampled so much of everyone else’s food I took a lot of it home for leftovers and it made a great meal for later. If it can hold up overnight in the fridge and stand up well for lunch the next day like my own homemade italian food I know its good.

Seeing as we were there is a sweet shoppe element, I saved room for that. The red velvet cupcakes are one of their signature items, get one in your mouth and you will see why. The luscious red crumb color topped with the white cream cheese frosting are just irresistible. They make their own pastries and sweets, it really makes a difference in taste and presentation. The tiramisu was a work of art, it was as beautiful as it was tasty: creamy square of coffee, ladyfingers and marscapone surrounded by shimmies of gooey chocolate with fresh raspberries stuck to it.

Owners Stuart and Debbie Katz are new to the restaurant business, with backgrounds in computers. Debbie Katz says, “I have lots of experience coming from the other side of the restaurant business as a customer. Its a different perspective being an owner.” Their comment card is important to them, they really want to shape their business into a place for residents and visitors alike. “Fill those cards out honestly,” Debbie Katz says, “I really want to know what is good, and what we should still be working on.”

Some of the other highlights on the menu that I look forward to trying are the build your own burgers, where you get to choose your own protein from angus beef to magi to veggie with bun, cheese sauce and sides. At breakfast the quiche with salad and pog vinaigrette or cinnamon swirl french toast intrigues me.

One of the perks of having such a dynamic space is the ability to have events here. Come by on May 5th at 5:30 for a social media tweet up mixer, no social media experience necessary, or the wine tasting reception on May 11 with Winemaker Ray Signorello at 6pm. On Mother’s Day seafood is the special with a shrimp frittata and caramelized sea scallops on the menu.

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About Jen Russo

I write the food columns for MauiTime, love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui specialist.