Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef, previously working in Portland, Oregon. She offers her blunt assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.
By Vanessa Wolf
Sure Thing Burger in Lahaina is tucked back about halfway in the Lahaina Marketplace on Front Street.
Is it a sure thing?
Well, most of the time the Sure Thing Burger ($8) is darn good – if a little bit tiny for the price tag.
Fresh and moist, the Grass Fed Maui Beef is perfectly seasoned and offset by the ingredients. Each patty is topped with sautéed onions, tomato, lettuce, white American cheese and a thousand island-y sauce. The bun is outstanding, akin to a King’s Hawaiian roll.
The added egg ($1.25) probably wasn’t necessary as the meat was already nice and juicy, but it sounded good and is a fun option. There’s also bacon ($1.95) and avocado ($1.50) available to dress up your patty.
It’s assuredly a good burger, but if you’re kama’aina and/or it’s between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m., the Sure Thing Burger’s price drops to $4 and transforms it unquestionably into a “sure thing.” For what’s maybe a four-ounce patty served from a window and eaten at outside tables in the courtyard, the regular pricing feels a touch steep.
However, with the happy hour price, Sure Thing becomes someplace worth seeking out. A 20% kama’aina discount only sweetens the pot.
Sure Thing Burger also offers a Spiced Pork burger ($8) featuring Kona BBQ sauce, grilled onions, and cheese. Vegetarians will be happy to discover the Veggie Patty ($8), made with garbanzo beans, brown rice, lentils, zucchini, mushrooms, and sundried tomato and topped with lettuce, tomato, and a homemade vinaigrette. Gluten-free? You can hold the bun and enjoy the patty of your choice on a bed of mixed greens.
The Turkey Burger ($8) is made from fresh ground turkey and served with lettuce, tomato, avocado, American cheese, and an apple-basil sauce. It had a decidedly Indian flair. A brief conversation with the chef confirmed that there’s curry powder in the meat. Turkey meat – much like tofu – doesn’t rate high on the flavor scale, but is a good transporter of other, more assertive tastes. The choice of curry and the apple-basil sauce (more like an aioli) was a good one.
Feeling like a small burger isn’t enough to fill you up? Sure Thing also offers hand-cut French fries ($2.95). They were fried to order and had a perfectly golden hue and crisp crunch.
Service was exceedingly friendly, and the rock n’ roll playing coming from the cooking area added some ambiance to the mini mall courtyard. While we were eating, a young woman in a Fleetwoods uniform came up, ordered a Sure Thing burger, and whispered “thanks for being my addiction” to the chef.
Sure Thing Burger is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is absolutely worth a trip between 3 p.m. and closing. Note to the owners: consider an 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift…or even later after the area bars close down. You’d kill it.
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