Cafe Carmen opens in Kihei at high-tech park

There’s a new restaurant taking the island by storm at Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei. Its menu consultant is Roger Stettler, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort Maui, also named “chef of the year” at last year’s ‘Aipono Awards.

Cafe Carmen is situated ground floor of the shiny, black-mirrored Premier Place (the first building on the left driving into the park), and it’s open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch as well as pau-hana pupu.

It has a liquor license, too. Wine flows from kegs, and this is one of Maui’s first restaurants to use this system. Sip from Costa D’Oro to Sherrer on tap.

The owner-operator is Roger’s wife, Lynn Stettler, who originally hails from Singapore. She’s done a bang up job of decorating the restaurant with recycled aluminum roofing, palette board, doors as table tops, and wine-bottle lamps. The menus are even printed on brown paper bags. You may kick back and enjoy floor-to-ceiling views of Elleair Golf Course in the casual atmosphere.

“Cafe Carmen is named after our daughter,” says Roger. “Lynn was a restaurant manager in Singapore, and she moved with me to the Caribbean before here, where she also managed restaurants.”

“It opens at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast, which is pretty much take out with bagels, Swiss-style muesli, banana bread and hard-boiled eggs and such,” says Roger.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with very light, very fresh salads such as black-and-white quinoa with mint dressing and fresh vegetables; chick-pea falafels with tziziki sauce; vegan “burgers” made from scratch; and Hainan chicken rice bowls, a traditional Singaporean dish. One of the top sellers is meat lasagne, using a treasured recipe of Roger’s grandmother in Italy.

“Cafe Carmen salad has hearts of palm, Upcountry cherry tomatoes and Kula corn; and popular desserts include poppa affagato – coffee ice cream with espresso shot, chocolate and caramel sauce. Then at 4:30 p.m., it’s pau-hana time with cocktails, antipasti plates and salty snacks. Stuff that goes well with beer and wine,” says Roger.

For more details, call Cafe Carmen at 875-8100.