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Stella Blues Cafe Closes After 23 Years

By Vanessa Wolf

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Late last night, Stella Blues Cafe posted the following to their Facebook page, “I’m very saddened to say that after 23 years Stella Blues Cafe is closing its doors.”

According to their website, co-owners Ray Enis and his wife Janie opened the Grateful Dead-themed restaurant in 1991 to “fill the gap between the lower and high-end dinning.”

As for the reason for the closure, on the social media site, the restaurant went on to explain that, “We have put our landlords in a tough situation and we can’t come to terms on a lease moving forward. For the record they have been there for us and worked with us numerous times over the years.

“I can’t thank all of the people that have worked with and for us over the years and all the customers that have been loyal since I was a child.

“I have a very heavy heart, but it’s also a freeing feeling that I have not felt in my adult life. Not sure what to say, but I have love for all my family and friends.”


Located at 1279 South Kihei Road in the Azeka Shopping Center, it’s presumed the Stella Blues Cafe closure is effective immediately.

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  • john

    so sad another local family business that closes. Maui’s rent, electric bill, and cost of goods are to blame.

    • jack

      More like Stella Blue’s shoddy customers bringing a biker mentality to a family shopping centre are to blame. Notice how all the other restaurants, shops, businesses etc that have to pay Maui rent, Maui electric and Maui cost of goods aren’t shutting down? No? Maybe you should look twice, think a little bit, and then post.

      • shutup_jack

        shutup Jack.

      • pfft

        Jack don’t know Jack sh^t. What are you talking about?

      • Ripple

        I’ve noticed many empty store fronts and the revolving door of business who just can’t make it . There are a precious few who make it for 20 + years . Eaten at Outback lately? Stella Blues was an icon. I ‘ve had many happy times there over the years . I’ve never witnessed a fight or any unkindness there .It was a place full of love , for the music , good friends and good food . It will be sorely missed. Jack you don’t know jack

      • sonofaintnobodylikejesus

        I usually see only families going to Stella Blues. This is typical of how the Maui commercial properties are constantly failing businesses (along with Maui county rules and regulations). Azeka is a crappy mall with high rents, no signage allowed, and no method of bringing in traffic (it appears). How is it that the Safeway mall up the street is packed with people constantly (Outback) and Stella Blues doesn’t have much business? We really only have 1 functional mall in Kihei which is the Safeway mall… All the others are failures and not worth attempting to start a business there. This is exactly why we need another mall with good big-box retailers to bring in the customers… The ideal of filling up these crappy malls only plays into the hands of the greedy landlords… Your business will never succeed in those crappy malls…don’t even try… I wish Kihei would consider eminent domaining all the coastal properties from North Kihei down to South Kihei and create an entirely new city. Kihei is a terrible plan that is lethal to business and walkers/bikers. Time to start over! :)

        • checkered demon

          I agree. There is no “town” of Kihei (Haolewood). Just a series of strip malls, many of them with empty store fronts. And yet the developers are still trying to dump some “outlet Mall” on Pi’ilani Hwy. If you need anything but foreign produced “Hawaiian” souvenir junk; overpriced bathing suits; expensive gas; or activity booths every 50 feet, head into Town. I read a while back that Kihei was voted “Ugliest Town in Hawaii” some years back.

          • TruDat

            Haolewood, located next to Whitelea.

          • HeHaw

            TruDat

  • jazzfeed

    But why?

    • The Kihei dude

      I’ve eaten at SB many many times over the years for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From my own personal perception, I’ve noticed the food quality and customer service deteriorating the last two years. Its sad, because I liked going there. As an example of some bad management decisions, the last three times I took people there for breakfast, we had to ask several times to turn the music down on the speakers outside. We couldn’t even carry on a conversation. No one wants to hear loud blaring music first thing in the morning while you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful breakfast. The fact that it happened every time and they weren’t very willing to turn it down, evidences that the management lost touch with their base. This will be the downfall of any business eventually.

  • Mauisun

    Many happy times and wonderful family traditions shared at Stella’s over the years. The Stella Blues family is like family to me – warm, loving, non-pretentious. This is a loss for Kihei. Rent at Azeka Mall is outrageous. The maintenance fees alone are mind-boggling, rules are rigid. Now they lost their anchor business. This will hurt everybody else in there. Thank you, Stella Blues! Best of luck to every one!

  • Larry

    The last time I ate there I swore I would never go back the food was worse than Denny’s I’m sorry a family business went under but this restaurant really really needed to go

  • Bobster

    No big loss. After they moved from the original location, where they were always busy and very successful, the service went to hell, the food was mediocre and the prices were not very reasonable for the style. They forgot what their mission was. “fill the gap between the lower and high-end dinning.”

  • guest

    there is no middle anymore. it’s just the man’s plan to push people – plus native hawaiians and singles to move somewhere else.

  • Toni Marie Davis

    I knew Ray and Janey from the Bagel Shop days….SB is a rags to riches story. A nice story….one that blessed very nice peaceful, loving deadheads & in turn they blessed all that knew them. Sad to see it go…but then when one door closes another one opens. Best of luck to the kids! Do what makes your heart sing. Before you post ask yourself 3 questions: Is it useful, does it educate and will it make people happy. If the answer is not yes to all three…consider not speaking. God gave you two ears and one mouth. We should all use them in that ratio. Aloha!


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