Upscale Hawaii is a food truck hidden on the back streets of Honolulu that specializes in steak and shrimp plates. Dubbed a “hidden gem” by food blog Frolic Hawaii, the owners said the truck is popular among North Shore residents and receives steady business despite the obscure location.
Mike Valdez, owner of the truck, said, “I initially brought the truck into being with a couple of friends because of their love of food. Being local, they wanted to bring their own flare into the mix.”
The truck originally got its name “because we serve higher end food like fish but also steak and lobster,” said Valdez. His friend, who he described as more “social media savvy,” came up with the name, and business began to take off after creating their page with posts depicting different plates they sell.
Lacey Magee, a freshman from Maryland studying intercultural communications, said, “It was in a remote place, but once you see it you know it.”
After eating her steak and shrimp plate, she said, “My taste buds are done, they’ll never be this happy again.” She said she saw many happy customers after receiving their food the Friday night she went.
Valdez said, “Our most popular plate is the Ahi steak with signature boom sauce. The locals can’t get enough of it.” The truck is only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m., but “that’s all the time we need in a day to make a profit,” said Valdez.
“People from all over – both international, from the mainland, and locals – all come to enjoy our food, which makes me happy because before I was cooking for a hotel. Now I cook for people that enjoy prime food the way I make it.”
David Whippey, a peacebuilding instructor at BYUH originally from Fiji, said, “My wife and I heard about Upscale Hawaii from close friends. We are like food buddies – if one of us comes across onolicious food, we let the others know. Going to the place for the first time, I was taken back and thought, ‘Surely this is not the place?’ The truck wasn't what I had in mind for a place that served this amazing food I was told about. Reminding myself not to 'look on the outward appearance,' I ordered the garlic steak and lobster and was blessed.
“The food was amazing! Both the steak and lobster tail was done to perfection. By far the best food from a truck I've had on the island! Definitely going back...every weekend.”
Located at 1510 Kohou St, Honolulu, the truck resides on a small canal street across from Damian High School. For more information, follow the truck’s Instagram page @upscalehawaii.