Before we even pack our suitcases for a trip we usually already have much of our food plan decided for every single day that we're gone. Knowing that we planned to spend a day in the central/northern part of Oahu to visit the Dole Plantation, etc, I wanted to find a cool place that would be convenient to our driving route.
Enter Maui Mike's in Wahiawa, Hawaii. When you find yourself in Oahu's central valley, it doesn't take long to realize that downtown Wahiawa is not a tourist destination. Surrounded by agricultural fields and military bases, the main thoroughfare consists of older businesses and small but very busy streets while men and women in uniform make up the bulk of the clientele.
While I was doing my internettin' to find us an interesting place to eat lunch, I kept seeing fantastic reviews of how Mike's serves up some finger-lickin' fire-roasted chicken with friendly service, so it sounded like just the place for us!
Maui Mike's is your typical counter service restaurant. Step up, place yer order, and then sit down and wait for your food. Mike's gives you a playing card to identify your order, which I thought was unique. Instead of numbers being called out you hear "king of diamonds" and "three of clubs" shouted out over the din of the box fans and air-conditioning.
The inside is small and casual with limited tables in varying sizes. The menu is simple: choose your chicken, your sides, and your dippin' sauces. There are 6 different sauces to choose from: BBQ Sweet, BBQ Smokey, Lava Hot, Blazin' Chili, Honey Mustard, Teriyaki, and Ranch.
The walls are decorated with Polaroids of some of the more notable patrons of Maui Mike's through the years.
Also on prominent display is the Maui Mike's Guarantee. At home, we're careful to buy natural chicken that hasn't been injected with all kinds of questionable things, so it was nice to know that Mike's does the same thing.
We were downright hangry by the time we rolled in for lunch, so when we heard our playing card called out we practically attacked the counter to pick up our food. Matt ordered the Maui Wowie sandwich which has chicken breast meat topped with melted cheddar cheese and honey mustard. Matt said the sandwich was amazing and his chicken was juicy and tender. It disappeared off of his tray pretty quickly so all in all I'd say he gives it a big double thumbs up.
No spicy chicken and fries for this little guy! He had his own food packed away in the diaper bag and was content to play with drinking straws while we noshed and nommed.
I ordered the quarter chicken with fries and oh my gosh, I can't tell you how readily this chicken just fell right off of the bone. It was piping hot with a crispy skin and loaded with fresh fire-roasted flavor. We both chose to upgrade our fries to Cajun style, and that turned out to be a wise decision. If you prefer your fries seasoned up, then Mike's secret blend of island spices won't disappoint.
Oh, and I have to talk about the dipping sauces! We tried the blazin' chili and smokey BBQ. The blazin' chili is considered one of the hotter spices, but it was SO good. It was spicy, yes, but not in a painful way. It had a great bitey kick that paired well with our Cajun-spiced fries. The smokey BBQ was decidedly milder but no less packed with flavor.
Stuffed, satisfied, and ecstatic to have found another hidden, small, local establishment that does one thing really well - serving up some dang tasty food. Jasper was over smiling at me and had resorted to just showing me his teeth instead.
Location: 96 S. Kamehameha Hwy. Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii (808) 622-5900
Maui Mike's provided us with a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review. We do not accept free product or compensation in return for a fully positive review. Remember our motto: if it sucks, we'll tell ya!