Restaurant Spotlight: Mauka Poke Bar

With a little imagination, the carved and clear blue water glasses at Mauka Poke Bar in Eagle could be seen as ornate windows overlooking the ocean. In reality, the quaint spot on Chambers Avenue couldn’t be farther from salt water and waves, but husband-wife owners Stephen and Kira Barczy have bridged that land and sea by bringing authentic Hawaiian poke to the mountains.

Kira was born and raised on Maui, and she and Stephen met while he was working there after college. Their island time has always been accompanied by poke — the fresh and healthy fast food of Hawaii.

“You can go to a local grocery and it’s like a deli station,” Stephen explains. “Just grab a half pound of poke and a scoop of rice, put it all in a deli container and take it with you to the beach.”

Mauka, in Hawaiian, means “upland” or “towards the mountains.” The Barczys did their own mauka journey over five years ago, making their way to Eagle, and now ensuring Hawaiian culture and cuisine doesn’t feel so far away. Mauka opened less than a year ago, and the community has received the new restaurant with full appetite.

“We wanted something approachable, quick and easy,” Stephen says. “That’s what we thought was missing, and we had been plotting this for a while.”

The fast-casual atmosphere is ideal as a lunch stop or to grab dinner on the go. Build your own bowl or choose from a signature bowl that highlights a specific poke, toppings and sauces — all named after the Barczys’ favorite places in Hawaii. They met in Lahaina, which is now the namesake of the delicious Lahaina Sunset Bowl. It’s colorful with bright flavors, featuring lemon avocado salmon, jalapeño, daikon radish, mandarin orange, edamame, purple cabbage, tamari and sesame seed.

Photos by New Roots Photography/Susi Thurman.

Fresh fish is delivered three times a week, and Mauka has eight styles of poke to choose from — everything from traditional, Hawaiian-style ahi tuna to ginger wasabi hamachi, pineapple teriyaki shrimp and even marinated tofu.

“We get amazing quality fish,” says Stephen. “My tuna is from Japan, my Hamachi is from Australia and my salmon is from Patagonia.”

If you build your own bowl, you choose a size then a base of white rice, brown rice or mixed greens; walk down the line, pick your poke and your toppings and sauces. It’s easy to order online and pick up at the delivery window if you’re on the go.

Mauka is open every day except Mondays.

Tuesday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday + Saturday: 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

A visit to Mauka feels like a delicious celebration of all things poke. The Barczys have a passion for Hawaii and its culture, and how lucky for the Eagle River Valley that we get to share it with them.

The Barczys had originally planned a big wedding on Maui for May of 2020. After it was cancelled due to COVID, they were left with over 100 of the carved and clear blue water glasses that are now for guests to use at Mauka. Each vessel is another hint of Hawaiian love brought by the Barczys to their Colorado mountain community.