Devastating wildfires on Maui have consumed hundreds of acres, killed over 100 people, and decimated historic Lāhainā town, a national landmark that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. The nation’s deadliest wildfire in more than a century and the state’s worst-ever natural disaster destroyed more than 2,200 structures and displaced at least 1,800 of the island’s residents.
To state the obvious, it is not a good time to visit the region as officials and relief workers focus on recovery efforts rather than tourism. Help from afar, however, is more than welcome. Chicago’s hospitality community is stepping up to raise funds for evacuees and survivors.
Do you know of a restaurant fundraiser for Maui wildfire recovery? Send Eater Chicago a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aloha Eats, 2534 N. Clark Street, Lincoln Park
A neighborhood standby for nearly two decades, Aloha Eats has garnered a reputation for hearty portions of island favorites like loco moco, Spam musubi, and curry chicken katsu. The team is encouraging supporters to send donations to Maui Mutual Aid, Maui Strong Fund, Maui United Way, and the Maui Humane Society. The restaurant also shared a spreadsheet with details on how to donate to local families.
Chicago Chefs Cook for Maui
The seemingly tireless team behind Chicago Chefs Cook, a collective of local culinary leaders that held star-studded events to raise money for humanitarian relief in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Syria, Turkey, and Italy, has leaped into action once again. The group is holding an online auction to drum up funds for the Chef Hui Maui Hospitality Relief Fund, a nonprofit that supports the island’s restaurants, hospitality workers, and families displaced by the fires. It’s recruited a significant slate of Chicago restaurants to contribute auction items, which include a private dinner for 10 at Art Smith’s Reunion, a tasting menu for two at Michelin-starred Esme, and a private tortilla-making class with celebrity chef Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo). Bidding is open and more details are available online.
LondonHouse Chicago, 85 E. Wacker Drive, The Loop
Executive chef Liz Sweeney, who previously lived on Maui, has featured a version of loco moco (Angus beef patty, Spam fried rice, whiskey-aged shoyu, bone marrow demi) for more than four years on the menu at LondonHouse Chicago. Through the end of September, a portion of proceeds from every loco moco sold will go to Merriman’s restaurant group, which has been feeding Maui’s displaced families and first responders in the wake of the fires.
The Perch Kitchen and Tap, 1932 W. Division Street, Wicker Park
Breezy brewpub the Perch is working to support Maui residents with a four-course Luau Beer Dinner on Wednesday, August 30, according to a rep. The team promises “island bites” with tropical beer pairings to accompany each course. 10 percent of the total proceeds will go to the Kokua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund for Maui. The Perch also plans to hold raffles and will donate all proceeds to the same hospitality fund. Tickets ($65) and more details are available via Tock.
Da Local Boy Food Truck, Waukegan, Illinois
Dianne Antonio, owner of Hawai’ian food truck Da Local Boy based in suburban Waukegan, aims to raise $100,000 for her hometown of Lāhainā via GoFundMe. She writes that donations will go toward food and medical supplies for local families. “Due to the destruction of cell towers, we are still unable to reach family and friends including my parents and my sister,” writes Antonio. “Being a thousand miles away from home we are at a loss for words and it is a devastating feeling that we are unable to do anything.”
Guy Fieri Foundation presents Chefs for Maui, Sonoma, California
The nonprofit arm of celebrity food personality Guy Fieri’s media empire will feature decorated Chicago chefs Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Duck Duck Goat) and Jonathon Sawyer (Kindling) at a Chefs for Maui fundraiser on October 21 at Premiere Winery in Sonoma, California. Reps promise a laundry list of high-profile chefs from across the country who will present 15 courses, as well as live music, auctions, and opportunities to meet culinary stars. All net proceeds will go to Foodservice Workers of Maui and The Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division. Tickets ($2,500) and more details are available on the foundation’s website.