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Ko Olina to be next digs of Monkeypod Kitchen

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    Bill Terry, CEO Handcrafted Restaurants LLC; Amber Thibaut, Vice President Monkeypod Kitchen and Chef Peter Merriman.
    Monkeypod Kitchen exterior.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Peter Merriman will expand to Oahu’s Ko Olina Resort by next summer, but “we hope for late spring,” said Merriman, chef-owner of the restaurant destined to be the new flagship location. Construction is slated to begin in November.

The first Monkeypod Kitchen opened in Maui’s Wailea Resort in February with a menu focused on locally sourced and socially conscious ingredients, organic whenever possible.

The 10,000-square-foot Ko Olina Monkeypod Kitchen restaurant will be in Station Square, a shopping center across from Aulani, the new Disney resort. While the design by the Shook Kelly architectural firm is being finalized, plans call for a two-story restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, seating for 300 and a staff of close to 200, Merriman said.

Monkeypod Kitchen, established by Merriman and restaurateur Bill Terry under the Handcrafted Restaurants LLC parent company, is also destined to expand to Hawaii island, where it would be Merriman’s third restaurant, joining Merriman’s in Waimea and Merriman’s Market Cafe.

Monkeypod Kitchen, however, is the concept the partners believe can be exported to the mainland. “It’s a concept that people really have an emotional connection to,” said Merriman, one of the founding chefs of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement that promoted Hawaii-grown agricultural and other products. Any mainland Monkeypod Kitchens will maintain “locally sourced products there but also maintain a Hawaii attitude,” Merriman said.


Kauai took a tumble on Travel + Leisure World’s Best List for 2011. It is now the eighth-ranked island in the world, after it had been ranked No. 2 on last year’s list. It was not quite as precipitous a fall as that taken by the Galapagos, which fell to No. 10 from No. 1 a year ago.

Maui dipped to No. 9 from No. 8 a year ago, but there was good news for the island of Hawaii, which is up to No. 7 from No. 10 last year.

That puts the Big Island at No. 1 on the T+L list of islands in Hawaii, followed by Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Lanai.

Hawaiian Airlines was ranked No. 3 among all domestic airlines, behind No. 1 Virgin America and second-ranked JetBlue Airways.

The greatest bragging rights for the isles, however, are likely being enjoyed in several hotel PR departments, as Hawaii resorts did well among their global competitors. Among the top 100 in the world, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is No. 28 (and No. 1 in Hawaii), Halekulani is No. 63 and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is No. 95.

The spa at Maui’s Grand Wailea Resort was the only Hawaii entry on the T+L Top Hotel Spas by Region list of 10; and nine Hawaii resorts made it on the T+L list of the 50 best hotels for families in the U.S. and Canada.

On the Hawaii-only list of T+L top resorts, there was quite a bit of movement, all based on readers’ ratings, according to the magazine’s methodology.

The top winners in each category will be feted at an awards ceremony Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

All the various lists can be viewed online now or in the August edition at newsstands July 22.


Waikoloa Beach Marriott is marking its 30th anniversary with a Twitter-based way to win a five-night stay in a Royal Suite overlooking Anaehoomalu Bay on Hawaii island’s Kohala Coast. Contestants’ task will be to come up with winning photo captions for pictures @MarriottHawaii will post each weekday for 30 days, starting Monday. The winner will be selected from among the 30 daily qualifiers.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by email at
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