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Eat the Street Mililani

Saturday’s suburban food truck rally was outright madness, with thousands jamming into Mililani Mauka’s Rec Center 7 to sample dishes from 31 food vendors

Posted September 18, 2011 by Diane Seo

Who knew what to expect from Saturday’s Eat the Street Mililani? It’s clear the food truck rally concept could travel, but would folks in Mililani truly embrace an event that’s rooted in the heart of Honolulu? Maybe several hundred people would show. Maybe 1,000…

As it turned out, Eat the Street Mililani was outright madness, with thousands jamming into Mililani Mauka’s Rec Center 7 to sample dishes from 31 food vendors. Organizer Poni Askew of estimates 6,500-7,000 were in attendance during the 2-7 p.m. run. “Many trucks had to do two to three additional runs for food to keep up with the demand,” she wrote in an email after the event. “Despite all the great activities happening in town and on TV (go ‘bows, LOL), Mililani was definitely ready for a new and exciting event to holo holo in their neck of the woods.”

To give you an idea what the late-afternoon crowd looked like, here’s a video by Mililani resident Ryan Ozawa:


Here’s what my ETS Mililani experience was like:

Eat the Street Mililani (1 of 30)

Eat the Street Mililani

Hello, Eat the Street. But whoa, where am I? The scene is familiar (food trucks snaked around a parking lot), but we're at Mililani Rec Center 7, tucked deep in Mililani Mauka, with town homes surrounding us. Yup, we're definitely not in Kaka'ako anymore.


After I left, a flash mob promoting Haunted Lagoon busted out, with dancers from 24-VII Danceforce breaking out to a medley of Michael Jackson tunes, including the Halloween classic, “Thriller.” Here’s a video of the flash mob by Foodie96744 on YouTube:


  1. Posted September 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Where was ladylaie!? :) Genious flash mob by the Haunted Lagoon peeps. Great coverage, Diane and big ups to Poni and the streetgrindz crew!

  2. 808marv
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I made the relatively short trip out to Mililani from Aiea to support Eat The Street and to see what the response would be out in the ‘burbs. As Diane said it was a mystery what how big the crowd would be. Well as you can see from the photos people came out in droves. It was kind of like the very first Eat The Street on Kapiolani: right before start time the crowd was sparse, then after that the swarms came in. There was a constant stream of cars and people pretty much all the way until closing.

    There was a parking lot across the street designated for ETS that didn’t open until after start time, couldn’t understand that one. At least open it a half hour early. Found parking in the residential area instead.

    The lines were long of course and there were a lot of HUGE orders being made. I mean this happens at Kakaako too but for this ETS it seemed like there were people who were designated to bring ETS food to their entire family plus neighbors and friends lol. Add to that a scorching hot day and your patience can definitely wear thin. I stuck it out and got my food but from what I have read in reviews and tweets quite a few people got turned away afer waiting in line for more than an hour. The vendors need to gauge better when their cutoff is gonna be and let people in line know or get some people to help relay the message. To be fair I’m sure they didn’t expect this kind of turnout though.

    The one big plus of having it at the rec center was…the rec center. Gotta love actual bathroom facilities vs. port-a-pottys, plus a lot of tables and chairs in the auditorium vs. the limited seats of Kakaako. Unfortunately I missed the flash mob as I wanted to stay out of the sun for awhile!

    I had food from Inferno’s Pizza, Fried Musubi, Baja Style, and Paul’s Poppers, all good. Almost tried All Kine at the end of the evening but I was a bit weary of waiting in line by that time. I can catch them another time on their regular runs.

    Overall it looked like a big success and hopefully ETS will happen again for the Mililani community. As for me being an “outsider” I had a good time but as long as there’s ETS Kakaako I think I’d skip it unless there was a truck I *really* needed to try.

  3. DianeSeo
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    @808marv Great assessment. I didn’t know about the huge orders, but that makes sense considering one person from a large family was probably designated at each truck. How was that goat burrito BTW? And Paul’s Poppers seemed like they had some trouble with their cooking equipment while I was there.

  4. Melissa808
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    OH MY GOSH DIANE …. I’m trying not to use swear words as I’m marveling at the crowd!!! You sure had a crazy weekend, and yesterday looks like a mob scene. I’m sure the vendors were super happy…? How often will they do this Mililani ETS? streetgrindz do you know?

    I’m guessing that if they have a few more of these, the crowds will get more manageable (as the Kakaako one has). Mililani is ripe for events!

  5. 808marv
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    @DianeSeo the goat burrito was good but in hindsight I probably should have stuck with the original plan and gotten the tacos combo with rice and beans on the side to taste the meat better. It was kind of like a very lean stew meat and didn’t seem too gamey, at least they way Baja prepared it.

  6. MoOgooGuypAN
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Yah! That place was packed. I live kinda close so some friends parked at my place and we walked down. I would have never thought it would have been that busy. I tell you that the best thing I had was the shave ice and the $10 nachos from Baja Style Mexican food. Twas awsome. BTW, that group with the tents of soccer/baseball parents… that’s my tents! Hahahaha. I knew what to expect from reading the Eat the Streets here on Nonstop so I came prepared. You folks rock!

  7. DianeSeo
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    OMG that’s your tent?! @MoOgooGuypAN I really can’t stop laughing. I should have stopped by and maybe snagged some food from you guys. What was in that $10 nachos?

  8. DianeSeo
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    @Melissa808streetgrindz Yeah, who knew, right? I knew though as soon as I was heading up Lehiwa Drive, and the traffic started slowing and there were maybe 8-10 blocks of packed parallel parked cars and tons of people walking toward that rec center 7. It was kind of eerie and shocking. I prayed that my camera had enough battery power.

  9. MoOgooGuypAN
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    You totally could have stopped by. @DianeSeo We did the split up thing and everyone stood in line at a different truck. I forgot to add that waffle part of the Hawaiian Waffle dogs were delish. I would have just ate the waffles. BTW, the nachos had everything and the kitchen sink…freshly made tortilla chips, refried beans, shredded beef, cheese, etc… They really needed a “beer garden” though…

  10. nonstopmari
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    @MoOgooGuypAN@DianeSeo we ALWAYS need a beer garden :D

  11. 808marv
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Oh so now @nonstopmari chimes in, what a surprise. lol ;-) @MoOgooGuypAN I saw those nachos being prepared at Baja and was very tempted to change my order., they really load it up!


About Diane Seo

Diane Seo, the editor and co-founder of Nonstop Honolulu, is the Digital Media director for Upspring Media. Prior, she served as managing producer of Metromix Honolulu; manager of The Honolulu Advertiser's TGIF section; Managing Director of New Media for the ATP, which runs men's professional tennis worldwide; a senior editor at and a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times.

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