The “Paniolo” burger is topped with onion rings. Havens, which opened December 2020 in Kīhei, is thought for its smash burgers, a method of cooking patties by urgent them into the grill. PC: Kehaulani Cerizo
Havens’ meals truck in Kahului launched final Thursday. PC: Kehaulani Cerizo
Zach Sato, chef-owner of Havens burger and noodle store, just lately expanded from his authentic retailer in North Kīhei to a brand new meals truck in Kahului. PC: Kehaulani Cerizo

When Maui native Zach Sato opened his first restaurant, Havens, lower than two years in the past, he had no thought it could quickly popularize smash burgers on the Valley Isle. 

The achieved chef and new proprietor was simply making an attempt to avoid wasting area within the fridge. 

“In case you pre-form the patties, it takes up lots of area within the fridge,” he stated. “However in case you simply throw them on the grill to order and smash them . . .  it form of simply got here from that.” 

Now, Sato’s burgers are — actually and figuratively — a smash. A lot in order that the chef-owner expanded Havens from its North Kīhei flagship restaurant to a meals truck in Kahului on Thursday. Within the subsequent six months, he expects to open a brick-and-mortar spot in Pukalani, which is already getting used for prep work.

Smash burgers, a cooking strategy of smashing floor beef on a grill to sear within the juices, create tastier, softer patties which are laced with crisp edges. Eateries devoted to smash burgers are present in main cities on the Mainland.


Sato launched the Kahului meals truck throughout from Costco fuel station with little promoting, however phrase of mouth unfold rapidly.


“My coworker has had their burgers in Kīhei,” Kahului resident Tami Duldulao stated throughout lunch Friday. “He was like, ‘You guys gotta strive.’” 

It’s “superior” the eatery expanded to city as a result of she works close by, she added.

Sato’s burger and noodle spots serve up native consolation meals. Authentic recipes coupled with recent, house-made substances set Havens other than comparable eateries. The standard, no-frills restaurant even garnered recognition in Forbes, Esquire’s Finest New Eating places in America and Meals & Wine Journal. 


Whereas Havens burgers, such because the “Paniolo,” “Umami” and “Authentic” are widespread, Sato presents different native favorites, together with noodles, sushi hand rolls and oysters.

Havens is impressed by Suda Seafood & Deli, an iconic burger and noodle joint that rose in the course of the heydays of native mom-and-pop outlets. Suda retailer remained open greater than a half century earlier than closing in 2019. 

Sato, who opened Havens in December 2020 on the Suda spot, grew up consuming Suda saimin and generally a teri burger after browsing.   

As a teenager, he rapidly rose the restaurant ranks.

Sato was a dishwasher as a freshman, graduated from King Kekaulike Excessive College in 2004 and was promoted to sous chef at age 19. He would transfer into lead chef positions in higher-end eating, ultimately serving as government chef for years at Merriman’s after which Lodge Wailea.

When the pandemic swept the islands in March 2020, Sato was left with no job.

“I had a 1-year-old child, a model new mortgage and no earnings,” he stated.

Sato stated it was “survival” that drove him to pivot rapidly. By the top of March, he was turning out meal kits from residence. A handful a day quickly become 300 to 400 a day.

He and his life accomplice, Katie-Belle Ely, determined to open Havens, which is known as after their daughter, on Dec. 6. It was an enormous threat, contemplating the county was nonetheless beneath COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Once we did open, we didn’t do any advertising and marketing, simply form of world of mouth,” Sato stated. “The primary day it offered out in like an hour and a half, two hours. And I used to be like, ‘Holy.’”

“The following day we opened, it was the identical. We’d promote out like hour and a half.”

After an preliminary wave of excessive demand, they refined the brand new enterprise. Sato and enterprise companions Katie and Davis Mann prolonged the hours on the Kīhei restaurant. Different areas have been thought of. Staff went from 5 individuals to about 15. 

Ely stated the success couldn’t have come with out native help.

“We simply actually wish to thank the locals, the residents of Maui who’ve made our enterprise an incredible success,” Ely stated. “With out the overwhelming help from the neighborhood, a second location wouldn’t have been potential.”

Sato credit his crew for the accomplishments, saying that good workers are exhausting to search out.

Finally, he’d wish to develop to the Mainland and arrange a crew so he can step again and spend extra time with household, he added.

In any case, Haven is already 3 years outdated.

“She will now acknowledge her identify and her image,” Sato stated. “She says, ‘Oh, that’s Haven. That’s mine.’”

For extra data, go to Havens takeout restaurant at 30 Manao Kala St., Suite 102, Kihei; Havens meals truck at Plate Lunch Market, 591 Haleakala Freeway, Kahului; or Havens online.

The burger and noodle spot additionally sells sushi hand rolls and different native favorites. PC: Kehaulani Cerizo

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