Star Noodle is one of the best-known and most innovative new restaurants in Lahina, on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
I had the privilege to visit Star Noodle just weeks before the devastating wildfires that swept through the town in August, destroying about 70% of Lahaina.
In the wake of the wildfires, many people are wondering whether Star Noodle is still standing, and whether this new Maui institution has survived the blaze.
My Star Noodle Visit
Star Noodle is the kind of place that you have to book weeks in advance. The restaurant serves creative noodles fusing Asian traditions and Pacific Rim cooking techniques.
I didn’t know about the reservation and wait times, so I walked in during a visit to photograph Maui in late July 2023. I had driven all the way across the island to take photos of this Maui hotspot!
Although I wasn’t able to get a table, the staff were kind enough to squeeze in a takeout order. I got pad thai, dumplings, ramen soup, and more and ate it at the Cannery Mall across the street.
Everything was delicious! Star Noodle definitely deserves its stellar reputation.
I was deeply saddened, then, to learn of the devastation in Lahaina. I was especially concerned about Star Noodle where I had just visited.
In the immediate aftermath of the fire, it wasn’t clear if Star Noodle had survived.
Finally, we got some good and bad news, via a Facebook post from Star Noodle.
The good news is that the physical structure of the Star Noodle restaurant did survive the devastating Lahaina wildfire. But although the restaurant is still standing, it still faces major challenges.
According to the post, many staff members lost their homes in the blaze. The surrounding town of Lahaina, Hawaii was almost totally destroyed.
Star Noodle writes “Many of our 298 employees have either lost their homes or have been displaced due to this tragedy. While we are fortunate to report that most of our structures still stand; our employees have experienced life-changing losses.”
Additionally, “we honestly have no idea when tourism and our businesses will reopen in West Maui.” As a business that caters to tourists and visitors, Star Noodle expects to be impacted by an overall drop in tourism to Maui, which has asked tourists not to visit until the fires’ aftermath is contained.
Star Noodle asked for support via a GoFundMe page. As of this writing, it had raised $117,000.
In short, while the physical structure of Star Noodle survived, the restaurant faces a tough road forward. Still, its owners say clearly: “We will rebuild.”