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Ruby’s Diner’s fare is worth a trip to the other side

By Staff | Jul 21, 2011

Kirk Baldridge (left) and Cook Junior Jetnil present delicious items from the menu (clockwise from top right): Parmesan Bleu Fries, Shrimp Tacos, Pot Roast Dinner, Ruby’s Apple, Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad, Hickory Bourbon Sliders and Mud Pie Shake. Photo by Rob Reed.

KAHULUI — West Siders, if you have not yet discovered Ruby’s Diner “on the other side,” do not hesitate to make that trip — you are missing some really great food fare!

Located at the entrance to Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, your whole family will find nontraditional diner fare at traditional diner prices in a family-style atmosphere.

“Ruby’s Diner history started back in 1962, when Ruby herself made her first trip to Hawaii by sea on the famous Lurline,” said Kirk Baldridge, managing partner of Ruby’s Diner and a veteran of 19 years with the chain.

“Ruby visited all the islands and decided that Maui was truly No Ka Oi, and soon it was her family’s favorite vacation spot for years to come,” Kirk continued.

In 2002, Ruby’s son, Doug, a part-time resident of Hana, decided to bring the restaurant to Maui, naming it after his mom. Now you, too, can enjoy a step back in time when you dine on fine food in the 1940s theme at Ruby’s Diner.

There’s even old Pan Am travel posters brimming with colorful scenes reflecting this very romantic time in travel to the Hawaiian Islands and recorded Big Band music to boot.

Along with its family-style atmosphere, Ruby’s is known to be Maui’s most kid-friendly place. For keiki, there is entertainment every Friday at 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., a balloon artist and even “Power Rangers” visit the restaurant for the little fellows.

And birthdays are celebrated, not only for the children but for every adult as well. Every so often while dining, morning or night, unexpectedly you will see and hear the whole staff emerging from the kitchen carrying a tiny sundae with a candle glowing and singing “Happy Birthday.” It could be for a child or an 80-year-old, and the whole restaurant applauds!

And Ruby’s Diner is constantly involved in various community events — their philanthropic efforts are well-known. For the Keiki Fest, Ruby’s served over 3,500 meals to local families and participated in the March of Dimes’ Walk for Babies, donating 300 breakfasts to Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu.

For the East Maui Festival, they prepared a pancake breakfast for 2,000 guests, and for the American Heart Association, Ruby’s participated in the “Buy A Heart” Program.

The restaurant was involved in the Battle of Restaurants for the Maui Food Bank, and they are always involved in restaurant fund-raisers for local schools and community organizations.

But let’s get to their exceptional menu items — so many choices, so many decisions!

We began our feast with Ruby’s enormous Chilled Apple, Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad, brimming over with spring greens, romaine, julienned apples, “crainsins” (cranberries and raisins). The dish is spiked with candied pecans and golden raisins tossed in a unique pomegranate vinaigrette with blue cheese crumbles — so healthful. So delicious!

Next, we were served the magnificent new Hickory Bourbon Sliders, “3 Little Pigs” Sliders and the new Chili Cheese Sliders — all outstanding, tender and moist. These are exceptional with their Super Premium American Kobe Beef, medium rare, served on a grilled King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll with aged cheddar cheese, crispy onion rings, smoked bacon, Rubysauce and Hickory Bourbon BBQ Sauce. A fine choice!

Along with that tasty treat, try the new Parmesan Bleu Fries — oh, what a combination! Taste just one and you’ll consume the whole plateful!

For a lighter touch, sample the succulent Shrimp Tacos — grilled shrimp in a warm flour tortilla topped with healthful cabbage, shredded cheese and green onion. It’s served with salsa, taco sauce, refreshing guacamole and sour cream — a crunchy shrimp in every bite!

Other delicious taco choices include chicken, kalua pig and soft veggie tacos.

At the suggestion of amiable Kirk, we tried the absolutely fantastic, fork-tender, old-fashioned Pot Roast Dinner. The beef is simmered in a rich brown gravy with an unbelievable flavor, and the meat literally falls apart at the touch of the fork! It is served with healthful steamed fresh veggies and Loaded Mashed Potatoes. “Loaded,” you ask? The potatoes are scrumptiously loaded with bacon bits and melted cheese! It’s as pleasing to the eye as the palate! This is one Pot Roast Dinner you do not want to miss — it’s worth the drive to the other side for that entree alone!

To crown this fabulous banquet, we indulged in the new amazing Mud Pie Shake. It is irresistible — a classic combo of Hershey’s Chocolate, bold coffee-rich caramel and an Oreo cookie all crunched up inside the shake, with bits of Oreo floating on the whipped cream topping to add to your pleasure. We hope this monthly special becomes a year-round favorite.

So, there you have it — many reasons to make that trip to the other side to enjoy some really fine dining at Ruby’s Diner! Call 248-7829.

Pau for now…