Pop-up dining, food events that suddenly appear at venues that aren't necessarily restaurants, are springing up all over the Mainland, and now have "popped up" on Maui. In fact, Wailuku's Vineyard Food Company began its series of Friday and Saturday Pop-Up Dinners this month. The company also runs Soup to Nuts, a popular catering firm.
The Friday family-style Pop-Up Dinners began on July 13 and will continue on July 20 and 27. The restaurant also began its upscale Sophisticated Saturday series on July 14, which will continue on July 21 and 28.
John Webb, chef and food and beverage manager for Vineyard Food Company, believes that Wailuku is ripe and ready for greater culinary excitement. To test his theory, he devised this series of weekend pop-up food events to "to revitalize Wailuku one bite at a time," he said.
Chef John Webb offers exciting pop-up dinners at the Vineyard Food Company on Fridays and Saturdays in July. Friday meals are family-friendly. Saturday events showcase upscale gourmet cuisine.
The Friday series is an experiment to bring family-friendly dining with great food at affordable prices to the Wailuku area. The menus are simple and delicious (See "Family Friday Menu" sidebar). The meals are $15 each for adults and $8 each for kids. For one all-inclusive price, diners receive an entre, choice of side dishes, a beverage and dessert. Vegetarian options are available for all dinners. Open seating is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Reservations are not required, but they are recommended.
The Saturday series concept intends to bring high-style dining to Wailuku. Saturday menus feature upscale gourmet fare, with the preparation personally executed by Chef Webb and his colleague and company co-owner, Daniel Southmayd, who also does the baking honors. The gourmet meals are prices at $50 and $60 per person, including gratuity.
The fixed price four-course meals include entre, choice of side dishes, a beverage, dessert and gratuity. Reservations are recommended. Seating is available at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Vegetarian options are also available for all dinners.
If the Friday and Saturday July offerings prove successful, the series will be extended throughout the summer, Chef Webb said.
Chef Webb grew up cooking in a family with a French-Sicilian heritage and feels at home in the idiom of those regions. He received his culinary degree from the Art Institute of Seattle in 2003.
He first came to Maui as a traveler 2007. It only took two weeks before he was hooked on Maui.
After working on the island, he returned to graduate school to obtain a master's degree from the world famous Cornell Hotel School. A 2011 graduate, the lure of the Valley Isle proved stronger than the attraction of the Mainland.
So he returned to Maui as food and beverage manager for Vineyard Food Company where he also works as a chef.
Now lucky Maui residents and visitors have an opportunity to enjoy both his gourmet menus and family-style cuisine.
On both Fridays and Saturdays, adult patrons are encouraged to "BYOB," and there is no corkage fee.
Seating is family-style and attire is informal. There's lots of free on-street parking nearby. Cash, check and all major credit cards are accepted.
Vineyard Food Company, 1951 E. Vineyard St., Wailuku, is regularly open for lunch Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and also runs a popular catering company.