TALK OF THE TOWN. . . Everybody is buzzing about how Green Tea has bought Hotel Hana-Maui and how they have outsourced the food and beverage outlets to the legendary Longhi's.
But, you won't find Longhi's signature black-and-white marble floors because the hotel's Ka'uiki Dining Room boasts beautiful koa.
"We're making little changes as we go along," says Peter Longhi, who will put his name on the signature restaurant later this year. He's also taken over Hana Ranch Restaurant and is checking out Hamoa Beach.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Showcasing their tempting fare are server Tasha Rowland (left) and owner Sunny Abi of JB’s Korean Kitchen & Lounge in Wailuku.
"Hamoa, eventually, that's part of the deal, too," Peter says. "I drove out there from the hotel the other day and word spread to the hotel employees faster than I could drive back there that I was checking it out."
General managers Michael Rose of Longhi's Wailea and Jude Augustine take turns spending three days a week in East Maui. They'll add pastas to Hana Ranch restaurant and will ultimately do pizzas.
"We plan to do deliveries and feature full breakfasts on weekends. We'll add a cappuccino machine for frappes and offer a good price point."
At the hotel, they've taken lunch out of the bar and moved it back into the main dining room. They've cut the bar stools (that were bar height!) down to a reasonable level so people won't tower and topple.
"We now serve breakfast later until 11 am. and start lunch at Hana Ranch a half-hour earlier, closing the gap, so you will always find something to eat."
Before, there was an unstated rule anyone who lived from Kaupo to Keanae got food discounts. Longhi's in Hana now offers 25 percent off food (except at the takeout counter) to all Mauians with identification.
BITS AND PIECES. . . There is a benefit coming up Thursday, June 3 in Lahaina for Maui Culinary Academy. Gerard's will pour five wines from Sonoma Country paired with four courses of gourmet fare. The reception kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with bubbly by Piper Sonoma. Cost is $95 plus tax and tip.
In addition, Gerard's will celebrate its 28th anniversary June 10. There will be special birthday selections on that one day only. Call 661-8939.
Maui Culinary Academy is happy to report its Zinfandel Festival was a huge success Friday. The student winners of the food tasting competition judged by attendees were Mark Mattos and Jonathan Pasion of team one, who captured first place with their fabulous hoisin boneless short ribs with sweet potato ravioli.
The former Yakiniku Steak House on Lower Main Street in Wailuku is now JB's Korean Kitchen & Lounge and it's open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The prices are reasonable, it's locally owned and the chef likes to use local and fresh Maui ingredients.
The K Special fried-chicken salad is scrumptious and so are the mandoo, shrimp tempura and kalbi beef with all of the fiery kim-chee accompaniments. Owner Sunny Abi has applied for her liquor license and she hopes to start some fun karaoke in the following months.
Those who love Grateful Dead-inspired music will want to come pay tribute to the late Ray Ennis Friday at Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei. The restaurant's founder, Ennis, also loved Grateful Dead-inspired grinds, which are prevalent on the extensive menu.
Heading to Oahu for the first-ever Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival today through Sunday? Hundreds of Mauians are going to see favorite musicians perform at over 25 venues in Waikiki. We hear that two of TS Restaurants and Maui's sister restaurants, Duke's Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki, will be music and food hot spots as well as the Mai Tai Lounge at Royal Hawaiian.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342.