Maui Tacos History

Internationally acclaimed Hawaiian chef and restaurateur, Mark Ellman first conceived of Maui Tacos from the lanai of his beachfront home in Maui. With the persistent crash of waves pounding the beachfront shore, he sipped a glass of mango iced tea, contemplated life, death and the surfers waiting for the next great wave…. and the delicious Mexican food he grew up with in Southern California and longed for in his new home in Hawaii.

Maui Tacos History
Maui Tacos History

As the sun set on the Pacific, Chef Ellman knew what he wanted to do. He went to work and in 1993 he opened the first MAUI TACOS® restaurant, in Napili, Maui. “I set out to create a restaurant fusing traditional Mexican fare with the exotic flavors from the Hawaiian Islands”. The successful result was MAUI TACOS®. That first restaurant received rave reviews and was quickly followed by several more locations on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island. For years Hawaiians, jet-setters, island hoppers and pro-surfers have brought legendary stories of MAUI TACOS® with them everywhere they have traveled and sure enough the concept was finally brought to the mainland in 1998. And the legend continues today as a sizzling hot concept with restaurants opening across the globe. Meet the team…

JEFF ENDERVELT, PRESIDENT/CEO — Jeff Endervelt has been our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since February 2004. He was elected President May 2006. Mr. Endervelt previously served as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Blimpie International, Inc. from January 2002 until October 2005. Mr. Endervelt is also President and CEO of Blimpie of California, Inc., (BOC) Blimpie’s Southern California subfranchisor in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Endervelt has served as President and Chairman of the Board of various public and private companies involved in the consumer products field, including food and non-food products and services since 1974.

MARK ELLMAN, FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE CHEF — Celebrity Chef Mark Ellman began his culinary career at age 13 in Los Angeles, California. His entrepreneurial spirit was born some years after when he and his wife Judy launched Cant Rock ‘n’ Roll, But Sure Can Cook, a catering company for rock stars and recording studios in Malibu, California. He didn’t stop there, over the years, Chef Ellman and his partners opened several restaurants on the West Coast before he and his wife Judy decided it was time for a change and relocated to Hawaii. There Mark opened the acclaimed Avalon restaurant in 1988 across the street from the beach in Lahaina, Maui. With Avalon’s reputation for unique Pacific Rim cuisine, Chef Ellman became known as one of the original 12 Hawaii Regional Chefs. Chef Ellman realized that paradise lacked great Mexican food and as a result opened the first Maui Tacos in 1993 in Napili, Maui.

Chef Ellman opened several more locations throughout the islands before launching the brand on the mainland. Chef Ellman’s resume is filled with well-earned awards and experiences. He has been featured on television programs such as “Emril” and “The TODAY Show” and in several magazines including Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, House and Garden, Bon Appetit and L.A. Style. Chef Mark and Judy Ellman own and operate 8 Maui Tacos on the islands, as well as MALA Ocean Tavern and Penne Pasta Cafe. All of Maui Tacos authentic recipes are approved by Chef Ellman and feature an unexpected combination of your favorite Mexican dishes, delicious spices of Hawaii and the spirit of Aloha. along with a little surfing keep him very busy on his little island called Maui.

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