New Kokopele restaurant adds Caribbean flair to Wailuku Banyan Tree


There is a transformation going on around the corner of Vineyard and Market in Wailuku. It revolves around the cute Caribbean-inspired food truck known as Kokopele, a cooperative created by Jotham Hall, Kelli Love, Cory and Dana Foht and Mike Flint. The group dedicated themselves to creating an oasis under the banyan tree, forming a collective place for healthy living and entertainment.

The morning I met the crew, they were busy. Love was on the phone with The Grouch, who will be performing in the courtyard of their Blue Moon Festival on Friday. Cory Foht was moving coconuts and setting up the bike mixer, and everyone was heading east to collect bamboo for the fence.

“We’re trying to make this a local organic farm stand that you would see in Hana,” says Cory Foht. “Only we are doing here in Wailuku, near the Iao Valley. We’re just trying to make it a positive street corner for the community again. “

Cory collected and shelled fresh coconut, making coconut milk for drinks, dishes, and smoothies on the menu. His brother Dana did the landscape and the graphic design of the area. Kelli Love shaped the menu’s recipes.

“I’ve done a lot of Jamaican music, reggae, toured with a Panamanian band, so I’ve collected a lot of recipes all my life from aunts and different people,” Love says. “It’s good food, it’s island food, which Maui has all the ingredients you need for. We were going to be vegetarian only, but found that there was a high demand in this area for chicken, so we found a source of organic wood-fired oven-fed chicken just as we opened. So we just included these recipes. We all have a very clear shared love for islands, island food and island flavor, so we wanted to bring some flavor here. ”

The menu includes smoothies mixed with bikes, fresh coconut, mint and basil lemonade, watermelon juice, cold pressed coffee or Kona smoothie, jerk chicken, jerk tempeh, jerk tacos, broccoli soup and cheddar cheese. They also have salad. It’s small, but everything is locally sourced. The tempeh is from Maui Tempeh Company. The day I indulged in their delicious tempeh tacos with their coconut rice, Hall was busy making everything.

Space advances. Under the banyan tree, they built several picnic tables and painted them in Caribbean colors. The taller bamboo fences and new plants in the open spaces give it an intimate and tropical feel.

This Friday, July 31, the corner will explode in the energetic Bay to Hawaii Blue Moon Festival. Kokopele brings a full lineup of performers, who will perform from 5pm to 11pm: FreeRadicals, Eligh, The Grouch, Zion I and Kreayshawn all headlining the show. The corner will also have vendors, food, and DJs between sets. Tickets are available on Fundabanda.com/campaigns/bay-to-hawaii-blue-moon-festival or at the booth ($ 20 in advance or $ 30 at the door).

Kokopele also hosts Second Saturdaze, a reggae event with DJ Irie Dole on the second Saturday of each month. The truck is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. For more information on Kokopele events or food, call Jotham Hall on his cell phone at 510-683-4083 or simply drop by Kokopele at Wailuku Banyan Tree.

KOKOPELE

93 N. Market St., Wailuku

Kokopelemaui.com

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