Calling all dudes, dudettes, grommets and gremlins.
Braddahs and honey girls, too. Because everyone - even beyond the surf crowd - will be thrilled with Longboards Ka'anapali at Marriott's Maui Ocean Club. The mood is casual and fun, it's right on the beach, the food is locally fresh and tasty, and the live music sets an island mood.
In fact, Longboards is still riding The Maui News' wave as "Best New Restaurant" on Maui from its win in last year's Best of Maui Contest. But recently, it's done headstands from its former ankle-buster look to become the Big Kahuna of all the casual oceanfront restaurants here.
Executive Chef Peter Slavetinsky of the Maui Marriott’s Ocean Club stands next to the authentic 1947 Willy Woody Overland parked at the entrance to the outdoor restaurant. Surfing memorabilia is scattered about and the Sand Bar lets you dip your toes in the sand steps away from the surf as you munch pupu and sip beers on surfboard-shaped tables and chairs. For reservations, call the Marriott at 667-1200.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Longboards is now hot dogging with the Birth of Surfing Wall with photos of legends such as Duke Kahanamoku, Tom Blake and Dewey Weber - many taken by LeRoy Grannis, the premier surf photographer of the 1960s. The Endless Summer poster is displayed prominently and you may watch surf flicks on the HD flat screens. Or glance at the longboard with a big bite taken out of it by, well, a shark.
The 1947 Willy Woody Overland is great for photo ops at the entrance. Then relax on surfboard-shaped chairs at the Sand Bar. Dig your toes in, watch waves pound the beach a few feet away, and sip Heinekens and eat hot wings packed in sand pails.
"Most people don't recognize this as the old Va Bene restaurant," says Rob Welch, new general manager of Marriott's Maui Ocean Cub. "We built a new entrance right on Kaanapali Beach Walk. It was created for diners to have a sense of arrival."
At A Glance
* Jazz Sunday: The breakfast buffet runs from 7 to 11 a.m. and cool sounds start at 8 a.m. Cost is $20.95, adults; and $10.95, keiki 6 to 12.
* Mai Tai Monday: Sip different variations at $4 each. Dinner runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
* Thai Tuesday: Chill at the Sand Bar on Thai chicken lettuce wraps and four Maui Brewing Co. beers for $12 (for two people).
* Wet Willy Wednesday: Get four Heinekens and sand pail of hot wings for $12 (for two).
* SIN ?Thursday: Service industry associates (SIN) must present pay stubs or ID to get $2 nacho bar, $4 well drinks and $3 drafts.
* Aloha Friday: Prime rib buffet is $29, adults. Drink specials, too.
* Saturday Beach Party: Come early, dress in beach clothes and get free appetizer.
And, what a spectacular arrival it is. None of the other restaurants in Kaanapali are as close to the ocean - and mature coconuts, plumerias and monkeypods flourish as if on the lawn of an island home.
"The Woody is parked right at the front hostess stand and one guy asked us to unlock it, so he could sit inside, because it was his first car, " continues Welch.
Between sets from some of Maui's top musicians five times a week, the Ventures and the Ramones will take you back in time on the speakers. The retail shop is packed with T-shirts from Malibu Shirt Co. such as Primo Beer, Hawaiian Punch, and Makaha '64. Remember those? Now you can look the part while you dine.
Many choose to sit at the Sand Bar, just because it's so unique.
"The Sand Bar has a separate menu and a different presentation than what we offer in the dining room, which is also outside, yet under thatched umbrellas," says Welch. "You may watch the sunset and it's beautiful from every seat."
Executive Chef Peter Slavetinsky, who hails from Prague, Czech Republic, agrees.
"The Sand Bar is more for snacking and for finger foods. People really love the Thai chicken lettuce wraps. The chicken comes in a little bucket. It's fun on the plate because you assemble it yourself."
The chicken is marinated in lemongrass, ginger, sweet Thai basil and more. Wrap the mixture in the fresh lettuce leaves and dip in sauce and you're in heaven. Plus it's only $7.95, cheaper than in Maui's Thai eateries. On Thai Tuesdays, you get even more of a deal (see promos at left).
Other good finger foods for the Sand Bar are the signature flatbread of the day baked in the fire-roasted stone hearth oven, totally stuffed kalua-pig quesadillas, fish tacos, and beer-battered onion rings. The triple crown sampler is the daily selection of three fresh fish pokes.
Chef Slavetinsky knows world cuisines as he's worked 16 years at various Marriotts from Germany to Phoenix, and he's been on Maui for five years now.
"We serve every day what is the freshest on the market," says the serious chef, who does a gnarlacious (excellent) job on the menu and the presentation.
Take the macadamia-nut-crust fresh ono in coconut-lime sauce and Kula watercress of the organic and hydroponic kind. Fresh ahi is done pulehu style, topped with organic Haiku greens and fresh poha-berry chutney. Meat lovers will delight in the filet mignon in rich shiitake-mushroom demi with marble-smash potatoes.
Chef Slavetinsky's signature dish is the Santa Cruz seafood pasta with shrimp, fish and shellfish on fresh herbs, tomato sauce, garlic and angel hair.
"It was an award-winner in last year's A Taste of Lahaina contest," says Welch. "We are very pleased with what he is doing and we also want to promote our SIN?Thursday and our Sunday jazz breakfast. Sip a Bloody Mary at the Tiki Bar, listen to the music, and watch the waves. And, we sponsor a surf site report. Surfers may dial on their cell phone '23207,' send as SMS text message and type 'surf.' Show the message to your server, and you get a free appetizer."