HARBOR HAPPENINGS . . . Everyone keeps asking if the Waterfront in Maalaea will ever reopen. Well, yes and no. The Smith family owners have signed to move to the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops in the old Ma'alaea Grill location. The newly named Ma'alaea Waterfront Restaurant will open early next year after its liquor license is approved.
Yes, we hear Gary Smith and his gang will move to a larger restaurant with private dining room, floor-to-ceiling French glass doors, lounge and its state-of-the-art kitchen. The foot traffic will even allow them to serve lunch, after the harbor construction is completed.
On Saturday, Pacific Whale Foundation will present the Welcome Home the Whales Celebration with sea cruises, an open house, and a benefit lunch at its new Porto flame-fired artisan pizza restaurant, also in Ma'alaea Harbor Shops.
Rocker Sammy Hagar (left) and master distiller Mark Nigbur launched Sammy’s new Beach Bar Rum on Tuesday at a VIP party in the Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"The whales are back and we're ready to celebrate," says PWF Chief Operating Officer Cynthia Mayer.
Ticket holders to the cruises that day will get 32 percent off lunch at Porto from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant fronts the commercial kitchen for PWF and its soft opening is that day. The 32 percent off is a nod to the foundation's 32nd anniversary. Saturday's cruises are at 9 and 11:30 a.m. Call 249-8811.
The Ma'alaea General Store & Cafe is also targeted to open early 2012.
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CELEB SIGHTINGS . . .World-famous winemakers, sports superstars, and a blast from TV's past were spotted in South Maui last weekend.
Actress Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady of the cult TV?show "The Brady Bunch" was among judges in the Life is Sweet event at the Shops at Wailea on Saturday. A number of Maui restaurants and hotels entered to win the dessert competition, and McCormick stole the show as she posed for pictures.
Winning first place in the contest was Grand Wailea's Pastry Chef Natalie Wilkinson; second place went to the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui's Ricky De Boer; and third place was taken by Michelle Kiana of Joe's.
Spotted dining around the Four Seasons Resort Maui, were World Boxing Association's Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao and Philadelphia Phillies baseball great Shane Victorino and entourage. . . At Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, a slew of high-speed car drivers dined at Mala Wailea, including NAPA Funny Car racer Ron Capps . . . One of Mala's owners, Shep Gordon, is featured in this month's "O," Oprah Winfrey's magazine. . . And comedian Gabriel Iglesias will get you laughing Friday at The MACC?in Kahului. Word has it people bring him chocolate cake in droves - and, he eats it! But you may dine on food by Maui Tacos such as pork torta and chicken nachos. The drink special is No Way, Jose.
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IN?WEST MAUI . . . Tuesday in Lahaina, Rock Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar launched his made-on-Maui premium silver rum at a private VIP party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina Center.
Handcrafted at the Haliimaile Distilling Co., the specialty rum is now in retail outlets, restaurants and bars throughout Hawaii. It's made from the first pressing of virgin Maui sugar cane in one-of-a-kind pots.
"The rum is pure Sammy, produced to his specifications," says master distiller Mark Nigbur, who resembles the rock star. "We truly believe we have developed the finest sipping rum in the world."
Three-time Grammy winner saxophonist Tom Scott and Hawaii's own Brittni Paiva will perform in two shows this weekend at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Hear them Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. and enjoy free pupu of ceviche, cheeses, pot stickers and more. From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, they'll perform at the bountiful and gourmet brunch buffet in the Ritz's Terrace restaurant.
Fondue lovers will have to wait a while to get another taste of The Melting Pot upstairs at the Lahaina Gateway.
"The Melting Pot is temporarily closed and we are going to reopen at the end of December," says David Cohn of the Cohn Restaurant Group, which also owns Pineapple Grill in Kahului. "It's going to be smaller because we're creating two restaurants under one roof. The other concept will open later as a tapas bar and a wine bar with over 100 reasonably priced wines from our cellar."
Got a dining scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.