Cool Cat Cafe: Burgers, Ribs, and Fresh Fish on Maui

Voted ‘Best Burger on Maui’ every year since they opened on Front Street across from the Banyan Tree, Cool Cat Cafe serves 13 different burgers and cheeseburgers, some with all the traditional fixings and some with a distinctive Hawaiian flare. If burgers and cheeseburgers are not your favorite, Cool Cat Cafe also serves fresh fish, steak, chicken, and their “soon to be now famous” baby back ribs.

When I dined at the Cool Cat Cafe, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of its founders and co-owners, Sean Corpuel to discover some inside information about him and his dad, co-founder Steve Corpuel, the Cool Cat Cafe, and what they do that makes a Cool Cat burger and the Cool Cat cheeseburger the “Best Burger on Maui”.

On Sean’s recommendation, I selected his favorite burger: the Duke burger, a delightful combination of 100% certified Angus beef hamburger, bacon, melted cheese, golden onion rings, and Cool Cat’s special BBQ sauce. I also ordered French fries and a dinner salad. The salad was fresh Kula greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, and homemade ranch dressing.

Sean’s other favorite sandwich is the Hula Chicken: white meat chicken  breast with two pieces of bacon, pineapple, melted Jack cheese, and sweet Hawaian sauce served on a fresh baked bun. The baby back ribs, slow smoked with their house BBQ sauce, and the half pound Top Sirloin steak special (it’s not on the menu, so you have to ask for it) are Sean’s other favorites.

As I dug into the salad and enjoyed the hearty crunch and the blend of flavors, Sean let me know that all the sauces and salad dressings are made fresh daily with only the best ingredients. The recipes are a secret, but Sean is in the process of creating a new line of Cool Cat Cafe brand Bottled Dressings and Bottled Sauces.

Sean also shared with me a little bit of the history behind Cool Cat Cafe. It all started with a small hamburger restaurant in Atascadero, California back in 1989. Steve and Sean opened a small hamburger restaurant with one waitress and the two Corpuels running the kitchen and the counter. Three years later, they opened the Cool Cat Cafe in San Luis Opisbo and created their signature hamburger, the Leader of the pack. After several successful years, and 13 successful burgers, father and son decided to try their luck on Maui.

Finding the perfect location seemed like a challenge until they came across the Wharf Cinema Center located on Front Street right across from the Banyan Tree. Filled with a number of unique stores selling an eclectic selection of souvenirs from all over the world, and one of the only movie theaters on the west side, the Wharf Cinema Center was the perfect match for the Cool Cat Cafe.

Cool Cat Cafe quickly become one of the anchor stores, or more correctly, one of the anchor restaurants for the Wharf Cinema Center. I was not surprised to learn that many of the employees of quite a few of the stores and shops of the Wharf Cinema Center eat at Cool Cat Cafe. In fact, if you go to Cool Cat Cafe towards the end of evening, you will very likely run into the salesperson who sold you your souvenirs, toe rings, or t-shirts.

While Sean was telling me that one of the secrets to their success was the freshness of their ingredients, as if on cue, a man walked into the restaurant carrying two huge Ono fish over his shoulders. They must have been bout 80 pounds each. He walked right through the restaurant and delivered the fish straight back to the kitchen. After he dropped off the fish, he greeted Sean and let him know there would be two more dropped off tomorrow. Caught off the local waters near Lahaina and delivered to Cool Cat Cafe the same day. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.

I asked Sean about the fresh catch of the day and learned that the Ono and Mahi Mahi are the most popular “Fresh Catch of the Day” on the menu. Every day the local fishermen go out to the warm waters off the west coast of Maui and cruise out to the backside of Kaho’olawe and other select spots and wait patiently to catch the fish for Cool Cat Cafe.

In addition to “the Best Burgers on Maui”, Cool Cat Cafe also has an arcade with pinball machines, air hockey, foosball, and assorted other amusement games. There are hula hoops for the kids (and parents, too). If you are looking for a family friendly and children friendly place to eat or just hang out, Cool Cat Cafe is the perfect place.

The Cool Cat Cafe
658 Front St. #160
Lahaina, HI  96761

Tiny Bubbles Scuba
About Maury Hoffman |Things to Do on Maui | Restaurant and Activity Reviews

Senior Editor of 808 Reviews and freelance travel writer, Maury Hoffman lives on Maui with his familiy, iPad, iPhone, and other gadgets. His writing proficiency is directly related to the quality of his morning coffee. He prefers Peet's Coffee, but also enjoys Living Java.

Tiny Bubbles Scuba