IT'S OUR STORY & WE'RE STICKING TO IT
Maui's Dog House, Inc began with Maui always wanting to open up a restaurant
of his own. He had worked in a vast array
of restaurants all over the place from Maui, Hawaii (Hence the nickname) to Wildwood, NJ and had learned quite a bit from each and every chef he worked with, but as he got older he got tired of making other people money so he got an idea to open up his own and began "haunting" his wife Liz to open a restaurant. Liz, after years of listening to him finally said, "Look, Put your money where your mouth is" and the roller coaster departed the station.
Liz had been in the wholesale food business all her life so with her connections and Maui being a chef they figured " Hey Why Not ?". They kept driving by this empty ice cream parlor at 8th and New Jersey Ave for months and finally after looking at so many run down restaurants and becoming discouraged, Maui called the real estate agent looked at the empty 8 th Street location and signed the deal, a little hastily but hey they are "What do we have to lose" kinda people. There is only one rule that Liz made Maui follow, Never put their house on the line, and he never did.
The Maui's were the proud new owners of a cinder block shell on New Jersey Ave. ALOT of People told them they were crazy. They called on every friend they had to make it work. They painted it, designed the menu and finally in July of 1999 MAUI'S DOG HOUSE opened. The first years were lean and the employees consisted of Maui working every waking hour, Liz working before and after her shifts at the phone company and their son Joseph poured sodas and worked the counter. When they were open all night Joseph slept on the prep table in the back so they could wake him up for the rush, at his demand , (Of course they never did) Maui would carry him to the car at 5 am when the birds were chirping only to return a few hours later to prep for the next day. Dedication was a word used often at the dog house,by both the customers they served. and by the family that served them. Through the years they gained much notoriety from their customers whom, in turn, became friends. It truly is a family owned business. The motto is "Ya gotta laugh and have a good time in order to make it through the season" and there is alot of laughter at the Dog House.
After 3 1/2 years of struggling and devoting their entire life to the restaurant a very good friend told them to stop looking for another place to open and just enjoy themselves and not think about "Maui's " for a while in the winter . His guidance and wisdom meant the world to them so they took his advice and started to relax a little . Poof, 10 months later their princess, Kailani-Lee was born in 2002. She was adored and soo totally loved. Life was a little more crazy for us but hey, crazy is what we live for.We were content with our son and daughter and honestly we did not think we could have have anymore kids so we just made the best of our life ! BUT.........
To make life just a little more nuts another little Maui princess was set for arrival in January 2008. After a hot and busy season in 2007 and eagerly awaiting the arrival of Number 3 child they decided to relax a while ~~~ NOT.
On November 19 2007 Liz was sent to Cooper Hospital in Camden NJ because their little girl decided to enter the world a lot early ~ 2 months. In the wee hours of the morning of November 20, 2007 Kiana Grace was born weighing a tiny 2 pounds 1 ounce and fighting like the little trooper she is. She spent 2 months in the NICU at Cooper sleeping and growing but came home fat ( 4 pounds 13 ounces) and healthy on January 3, 2008 HAPPY NEW YEAR !! She is perfect now and we think she just wanted us to sweat a little and create some drama like we need more drama !!!
Kiana completed our family ~ Our little trooper is a a sign that good things happen to those who wait.
On July 10, 2009 we celebrated our 10 year anniversary and closed the restaurant for a private party for all the customers who helped us along the way in our adventure. On that same night our prime time TV debut on the Food Network program "Sunny's Summer Eats" premiered.
We were ecstatic at our anniversary celebration and to be on national TV on the same night to the day was just a sign of good times to come !!!!
One year later we got a call from Page productions to be on the number one show on the food network ~ Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
They filmed in July, it aired in December of 2010 and so our roller coaster rolls on alot faster but we are hanging on and taking it for the wonderful ride that it has become.
The most important lesson we learned is our little place on New Jersey Ave is our 2 nd home and that our customers expect us to serve them -- .
Our saying is ...... "This is not fast food, it's fresh food cooked as fast as we can make it"
In the summer of 2011 we were asked by the owner of a beautiful property in Philadelphia to open up in the food court . We said no, I think about 20 times to each other and to him before we sat back in late September and talked to our crew, who all lived up there and decided to make our roller coaster roll ALOT faster ! It was, in a few short words, a LONG road to get it open but we did and the with the help of our WONDERFUL crew ~ It's was a nice little joint. As fun as the summer of 2011 was for us ~ the fall and winter were very stressfull. The Roller coaster in our Philadelphia location departed the station at the inaugaration of Mayor Nutter and feeding 3000 of his closest peeps and then we opened our location in the Historic Bellevue Hotel Center City food court. We opened with a bang and got alot of good press. It was a not a Great venue from the start, but we felt that we needed to give it our all and see if we could make it work . We got alot of GREAT feedback from the people of Philly. Sadly after just 5 months it wasn't working and we needed to close it. It just wasn't the right space for us ~ At least we can say we met alot of great people and we tried !
The summer of 2012 was awesome, we adjusted to the crowds did as best we could and gave our 100% and we think it was a total success.
On October 28, 2012 our life totally changed with one word "SANDY"
Live and learn.... That's what we do when you are self employeed ! We will just concentrate on our favorite
North Wildwood location for a while !