Stewart’s Burgers Offers Burgers, Burgers, Mo Burgers
Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef. She offers her frank assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.
By Vanessa Wolf
Stewart’s Burgers currently occupies the spot that used to be Fat Boy Burgers (and before that was a fish and chips place) in the Kukui Mall on South Kihei Road.
It also seems to have stuck with Fat Boy’s same lots o’ burgers with clever names a la carte state of affairs.
But whatever. It’s Stewart’s now. Deal with it.
Let’s cut right to the star of the show.
SWEET POTATO FRIES. ($2.75 for regular, $5.25 for large)
We see what you’re doing, Stewart, and we are powerless to stop it.
Is there any chance that the fact that the delectably fried morsels were originally a sweet potato makes this in any way a healthy food?
Probably not, so enjoy the moment when you’re together and worry about consequences later.
The Hana Burger ($9) is topped with jalapeno bottle caps, cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion and lettuce.
Honest to Maude, we didn’t know what a jalapeno bottle cap was and were pretty excited to find out.
Enter disappointment and the harsh reality of jalapeno slices from a jar or can and somehow almost entirely tops. Tops like the part where the stem attaches. There you have it. Nature made them round and Stewart dubbed them “bottle caps.” Yep.
So enough about that.
The burger was satisfying overall.
The meat seemed a bit sweet somehow – definitely cooked on a flat top and not a grill – and the bun quite so. It’s kind of the challah bread of buns and quite soft although, again, notably sweet.
In this case, however, the bacon balances that out.
Bacon makes everything better. That is a law of nature.
The burgers always come out well done. It’s just the way it seems to be.
We did not, however, order the $2.50 Hawaii Ranchers Beef upgraded patty because – to be perfectly honest – we didn’t realize it existed until just this second while reviewing our photos of the menu. Maybe you can get it medium rare?
That would be nice.
Let’s just say some people feel that well-done burgers have the texture of a pencil eraser and others do not. You know which camp you’re in.
For $4.25 more you can treat yo self and add a side of onion rings and a soda.
Yep. That $9 burger arrives all by its lonesome.. You want more food, you pay for it.
Onion rings are always a hoot in one’s oral cavity, and we received six.
Kudos to the person running the deep fryer. You’ve got skillz, son.
The description on the Paia ($9) starts out with “OUR Veggie burger” so we presume they made it there in-house.
What are veggie burgers made out of anyway? Beans? Lentils? Obviously stuff that doesn’t taste like anything, or that’s what we told our taste buds when they wondered why we hadn’t invited them to the party.
Thank the sweet lord for the generous avocado slices, which made the day.
It arrives on the same sweet bun and the fresh veggie toppings were present and accounted for, as well.
If you’re a vegetarian, you’re already resigned to a life without bacon and no doubt the luxurious avocado layer will be your just reward.
On a similar note, we feel the words “turkey” and “burger” go together like “Chico” and “Chang.”
Nonetheless, we gave ye ol’ Makawao burger ($9) a whirl.
It comes with Swiss cheese, red onions and wait.
The turkey burger comes with bacon.
No fair. That’s cheating!
Somehow we missed that little detail (details schmetails) during the ordering process, and we propose a name change: The Hypocrite or maybe The Pretender.
“Yes, Honey. I’m minding doctor’s orders about my cholesterol and ordering a turkey burger. Please look away as I devour this BACON.”
As we’ve already discussed – and Stewart clearly knows – bacon makes everything better, and it did the heavy lifting again here. Heck, throw some fried pig on that Paia burger and we don’t care what the veggie patty tastes like or doesn’t.
The owners/staff are very friendly which made shelling out over nine clams for a burger a little bit more comforting, but…
Mr. Stewart: you’re straight trippin’ on price, Boo.
Don’t misunderstand. We like you. We want to see local businesses succeed.
But let’s consider something: you’re a take out burger joint with ‘raisin in the sun’ outdoor seating shared with Starbucks.
We know it’s Maui, but $9 for a burger and $11.50 for a burger made from local beef and there aren’t even fries with that? Cha-ching.
You’re competing with Moose’s and Stella’s and Home Maid Bakery and a lot of other excellent burgers. And fries. And waiters. And air conditioning. And a roof.
Near the end there, the Fat Boy reduced his namesake burger to $5 all day, every day. And the place is called Stewart’s now.
Food for thought.
We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening or reopening, total menu overhauls, or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line – Vanessa(@mauinow.com)