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Get ready to raise a glass in support of Hawaii’s restaurant industry

  • CARLA TRACY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku is continuing its Facebook concert series and doing renovations that will allow for patio seating and a walk-up counter for hot dogs and such. Owners John and Gwen Henry bake fresh pastries, from red velvet cake to almond tarts.

    CARLA TRACY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku is continuing its Facebook concert series and doing renovations that will allow for patio seating and a walk-up counter for hot dogs and such. Owners John and Gwen Henry bake fresh pastries, from red velvet cake to almond tarts.

  • COURTESY MANOLI’S
                                Manoli’s Pizza Co. in Wailea and other restaurants may open bar areas Monday to groups of no more than 10.

    COURTESY MANOLI’S

    Manoli’s Pizza Co. in Wailea and other restaurants may open bar areas Monday to groups of no more than 10.

  • COURTESY MANOLI’S
                                Pizzas include the shrimp pesto with tiger prawns, baby spinach, mushrooms and basil pesto with garlic aioli sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses.

    COURTESY MANOLI’S

    Pizzas include the shrimp pesto with tiger prawns, baby spinach, mushrooms and basil pesto with garlic aioli sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses.

What is this world coming to? Not only are global restaurants floundering like fish washing onto the beach, but longtime editor Adam Rapoport of the prestigious Bon Appetit magazine is doing a belly flop, resigning in shame last week after a 2004 photo of him in a Puerto Rican “brown face” costume surfaced on Twitter, prompting widespread condemnation.

And Las Vegas, the so-called Ninth Island because of its popularity among Hawaii residents, has reopened with Plexiglas between limited numbers of players and other precautions, but some people there are speculating, “Could in be the new out?”

Former longtime Mauian and now Las Vegan Cheryl Jennings noted that on a recent casino outing, the majority of people were not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing. “Most masks are being worn in poker rooms, as covering your face can give players an edge during the game,” Jennings added.

Kind of makes you want to run and hide — inside someplace safe.

In fact, Playstudios, maker of award-winning casual games for mobile and social platforms, has launched the “In Is the New Out” campaign. CEO Andrew Pascal, developer of myVEGAS Slots, myVEGAS Blackjack and more, aims to demonstrate that you can still have fun at home instead of going to Vegas. For more details, visit playstudios.com.

Even Maui Academy of Performing Arts is keeping it remote. Summer online camp for kids includes workshops taught by industry professionals. Kids can unleash their creativity with sessions on singing, clowning, costume design, acting for the camera, movement, making props, set design and more. Virtual camp runs Monday through July 24. The $175 tuition equates to $2 an hour. To register, call 244-8760 or email info@mauiacademy.org.

TIME TO RAISE A GLASS

On Maui, things are picking up, sloooowly. Monday, bars may reopen with certain conditions, but what is a “bar” anyway? According to the Maui Liquor Control Commission, there is no “bar license” per se. The department issues only dispenser licenses and liquor licenses. A news release from the mayor’s office didn’t provide a definition, either, but I know that the bar sections of restaurants will return.

I can almost taste a perfectly chilled cosmo martini — shaken or stirred, I don’t care at this point, and I don’t think James Bond would, either.

One place with a bar is Manoli’s Pizza Co. in Wailea, which is open for sit-down service. So starting Monday it may utilize its bar area, limiting groups to up to 10 people within the bar. Groups must maintain social distancing or face fines of up to $5,000 and/or a year in jail.

Manoli’s is part of five enterprises in the Tri-Star restaurant group owned by Aaron Placourakis, but it’s the only one open at this time. Sarento’s on the Beach and Nick’s Fishmarket in South Maui and Son’z at Swan Court in Kaanapali are all on hotel properties. Placourakis said, “I’m at the mercy of when we get the green light from the landlords.”

Manoli’s is open for sit-down service from noon to 9 p.m. and can accommodate about 80 people with space constraints.

“I don’t want it to turn my restaurants into a strictly a takeout industry. I’m not ready to give up. I just want to maintain the sex appeal of going out to dine,” added Placourakis. “But how do you do that with disguises on? People want to come to a venue with a vibe conducive to romance. I’m trying to keep things as attractive as possible while still keeping everyone safe.”

Monday, sit in the bar area during two happy hours daily and pound garlic parm fries, mozza-meat sliders, shrimp scampi and pizza by the slice, along with well drinks and wine by the glass. Happy hour food ranges from $3 to $8, and drinks are $4 to $9. Call 874-7499.

Fred’s Mexican Cafe across from Kamaole Beach Park II in Kihei is pulling in local customers for sit-down service from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hey, come Monday, sit at the bar and sip a margarita. Ole! Its sister restaurant upstairs, Moose McGillycuddy’s, offers sit-down from 3 to 8 p.m., while its cousin, Penny’s Pizza & Pasta, whips up brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 8 p.m.

“I’m not serving breakfast at Fred’s anymore, but now I’m doing brunch at Penny’s because it’s outdoors and it’s open-air,” said Managing Partner Penny Jo Putnam. “I’m still completing the a la carte brunch menu of pastries, fresh fruit, mascarpone-stuffed French toast, Italian eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine and calamari appetizer. We have mimosas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers and limoncellos and stuff like that. I haven’t priced it out yet.”

Also in Kihei, Coconuts Fish Co. is open for sit-down meals, and Howie’s Life’s a Beach is, too, as allowed by law. This column is not a comprehensive list by any means. Potential diners should call their favorite haunts to make sure they are open and secure a reservation to give them notice to have enough food supplies and staff on hand.

SUPPORT KAMAAINA ECONOMY

Government and food industry officials are offering encouraging words as more parts of the economy and community reopen and more people seek a return to their pre-pandemic lives.

“Maui County continues to see a very small number of new cases and maintains the highest rate of testing per capita in the state,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a statement. “These two factors are crucial in allowing us to reopen more services and activities for our residents, which also supports our kamaaina economy.”

Speaking on behalf of the industry, Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, offered her own statement to encourage patrons: “While dining out may feel a bit different in this phase of reopening, we know that our restaurants will be applying the highest standards of care as they welcome back their guests, and we look forward to showing our support by coming together around their tables once again. Please demonstrate your appreciation with a shaka — restaurants have been waiting to see you!”

Want to be part of the discussion with key players in Hawaii’s food industry? The Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation will host its “Eat Think Drink 10: Food Supply Disruption — COVID-19” from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday online. COVID-19 has ravaged the global food supply chain, affecting farmers, processing plants, shipping, retailers and more. This online event will feature key players in Hawaii’s food industry as they discuss how our local food supply has been affected and what they’re doing to ensure our communities have the food they need.

The panel includes Ron Mizutani of Hawaii Foodbank, Chad Buck of Hawaii Foodservice Alliance, Tom Jones of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, Eric Kingma of the Hawaii Longline Association, Brian Miyamoto of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, Jason Wong of Sysco Hawaii and Lauren Zirbel of the Hawaii Food Industry Association. Register for this free online event at OnoRevolution.com or find Eat Think Drink on eventbrite.com.

WHAT’S BREWING AT THE ATTIC

Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku keeps swinging with Facebook Live events hosted by entertainer Kathy Collins most Fridays and Saturdays at 5 p.m. This Friday it’s Max Angel on ukulele and vocals performing island tunes, and Saturday will feature Brado Music with Joe Miles on percussion.

“We’re continuing to host these events online, and the musicians are waiting until we can have more than 10 people downstairs so they can perform again,” said owner John Henry.

“We are also happy to announce that we now have limited seating indoors and additional seating outdoors. But no internet until we can accommodate more guests. Sorry there is no seating at the bar stools. The downstairs is still closed while we are renovating. Good news is that our walk-up window downstairs is near completion. We are opening that in a couple of weeks with expanded patio seating and shade canopies. We’ll serve soft-serve ice cream and stuff like the old Dairy Queen Dilly Bars, but we can’t call them that, along with hot dogs, chili dogs, chili and rice, and iced coffee and other iced drinks.”

Henry’s wife, Gwen, bakes everything from almond tarts to red velvet cakes. Current hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the new walk-up window will be open 2 to 8 p.m. weekdays and at 10 a.m. Saturdays. For more details, call 250-9555 or visit mauicoffeeattic.com.


Veteran journalist Carla Tracy pops the cork on Maui’s dining and entertainment scene in her weekly column. Email her at carlatracy808@gmail.com.


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