Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013 - (Page 4)

NEWRes taurants l-r: Monkeypod Kitchen at night, Maui Cattle Co. Cheese Burger, blueberry mojito, strawberry cream pie, Monkeypod Kitchen signage M o n key p o d K i t c h en – Ko O lina Resort 92-1046 Olani St., Kapolei • (808) 380-4086 • monkeypodkitchen.com C hef Peter Merriman, one of the 12 original founding chefs of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement in 1991, in January opened a branch of his Monkeypod Kitchen brand on Oahu at Ko Olina, having already opened a branch in Wailea on Maui in 2011. He owns four other Merriman-named eateries on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, in addition to partnering on Hula Grill in Lahaina. “We thought the monkeypod tree was an appropriate symbol for our restaurant,” explains Merriman, originally from Pittsburgh, “because it’s not a native species, it’s good for the environment, and its wood is often used in handcrafted items.” The Merriman restaurants stress locally sourced ingredients (more than 60 percent), “handcrafted” dishes (meals prepared freshly and as close as possible to the moment the customer orders them, i.e., “a la minute”) and operating in such a way as to be sustainable and environmentally friendly (“doing the right thing”). Merriman and Kapolei resident Bill Terry are partners in the Monkeypod Kitchen brand (through Handcrafted Restaurants LLC), having met about 10 years ago through the TS Restaurant group. “Bill’s more the operational partner (CEO) and I’m the cooking partner (Chair),” says Merriman, “though we both sat down together to conceptualize the restaurant menu and decor (which features two levels, a waterfall, a wood-stoked grill and oven, a glass-enclosed exhibition kitchen, beer, cocktails and live music). “We want the Monkeypod experience to be fun, casual, not terribly expensive ($6 to $35) and not a big commitment, but a real taste of Hawaii. Of course, the food should be great!” Although the menu features such exotic fusion fare as Poke Tacos and Smoked Taro Hummus, Merriman says the cream pies are the signature dish. “I try to offer new dishes around four times a year,” he says. “First, I work on the recipe at home, then I pass it on to Neil Murphy, our corporate chef, who may make a few changes and then Neil passes it to our restaurant chefs who may refine it for their location.” So will Chef Merriman’s culinary empire be taken over by any of his three children one day? “Jessie (18) might run the business, but she’s got to get busy running for president of the United States.” —Jackie M. Young Monkeypod Kitchen Lunch & Dinner 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, Happy Hour 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily Chef Peter Merriman l-r: Bulgogi pork tacos, Chef Merriman and CEO Bill Terry, bar area, grass-fed, hormone-free, peppercorn-rubbed filet steak, poke tacos 4 Hawaii Hospitality ■ July/August 2013 http://www.monkeypodkitchen.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013

New Restaurants
Beverage Trends
Guest Services
Beyond Waikiki
Talk Story with George Szigeti
Association News
News Briefs
Clean Talk with Rose

Hawaii Hospitality - July/August 2013