In a sentence, Fleetwood's on Front Street will "combine English gentleman with a Bohemian accent in the islands," when it opens this summer.
That's because its owner and namesake, legendary rock star Mick Fleetwood, prefers that look and feel.
"The most exciting part of this whole thing happening is that Mick Fleetwood lives here and he loves Maui. It will not be just another celebrity restaurant. He embraces Hawaii and its culture," says Eddy Bitton, one of Mick's partners in the business and president of the Bitton Design Group, based in Agoura Hills, Calif.
Built in 1916, the (pink) historic
Lahaina Store will set the stage for four stories of food, music and fun from the
cellar nightclub to the ground floor wine and gourmet food outlet to a two-story restaurant that features casbah dining on the rooftop.
Photos courtesy FLEETWOOD’S
"Fleetwood's will be a restaurant first. A food establishment first. We have a moving target date for our opening and it's either late July or early August. Of course, it depends on the permit process and other things that may occur."
Bitton joins some rock legends as Mick's backers in the biz. But on a recent visit to the construction zone, I was asked not to reveal any names yet. Of course, rumors continue to swirl on island.
There's a good chance they'll show up to play with the longtime, famous Fleetwood Mac drummer after the restaurant opens. But you'll have to read about the music aspect in Scene soon, when our esteemed contributor, Jon Woodhouse, interviews Mick and asks him all about it.
Where: Located at 744 Front St. in the historic, Lahaina Store building in Lahaina.
What: Fleetwood's on Front Street will be 16,000 square feet on four levels with two stages, five bars, cushy booths, main dining room, VIP private dining, rooftop casbah, wine retail store, recording studio and more.
Opening: Target is in late July or early August. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and maybe Sunday gospel brunch.
Chef: Scott Leibfried of "Hell's Kitchen" fame is corporate chef. He will accept applications on site and conduct interviews from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday.
Yet another big news item is that Scott Leibfried, 11-year sous chef on the "Hell's Kitchen" FOX reality TV cooking show, has been named corporate chef of the massive culinary enterprise.
Corporate chef, you ask?
"We're looking to open three locations max with one in Waikiki and possibly one in Las Vegas," says the LA-based chef. But first things, first.
Situated in the historic Lahaina Store at 744 Front St., across from the sea wall, it takes up what was once Planet Hollywood and in more recent years, Lahaina Store Grille & Oyster Bar.
Those two restaurant levels will offer 10,000 square feet in the main dining room and on the rooftop alone. There will also be a nightclub in the cellar with two bars and a stage, and a retail outlet ground level that will feature Mick Fleetwood's Private Cellar wines and gourmet food items.
"The four levels are 16,000 square feet in all," says Bitton, who is designing the look with Diana Nathanson of the Diana Lands Nathanson Design Group, based in Beverly Hill, Calif.
"In lieu of a typical restaurant, we're doing a residential approach. For example, we'll provide a living room aspect and Mick will have a private dining room for VIPs and for special functions."
In all, the four levels, two stages, and five bars will pulsate Lahaina. Let's start with what will be the only rooftop experience in town and work our way down.
"The rooftop casbah will offer 180-degree mountain and ocean views," says senior Sales & Marketing Manager Jill Holley, who many know from her years at Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina.
It will be open air, with some enclosed cabanas and a sort of Moroccan theme. You will find a bar there, and during the day, the electronic canvas roof can provide much needed shade.
"It's a great place to enjoy Lahaina sunsets and you can have private parties up there. It's really special," says Holley.
The second-story main dining room has lots of cushy booths and tables, two bars, a stage, a recording studio, and the VIP private dining room.
"The stage will be in the corner, so when Mick has friends come, they can perform right in the dining room," says Bitton. "The room is a mix of exotic mahogany and koa and reclaimed wood floors. At the wine bar, a back light will glow with amazing colors and hues."
For the uninitiated, Mick's wines rock!
His Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar wines have won numerous awards, from "Best Wine in a Blind Tasting of 50 Celebrity Wines" as published in the Wall Street Journal to a "Gold Medal" in the Long Beach Grand Cru Competition to a "Bronze Medal" in the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
"From humble beginnings of the concept in 2001 to our current availability in the finest hotels and largest retailers in the country, it has been, more than anything, a personal journey," says Mick.
Corporate chef Leibfried will pay homage by pairing Mick's wines with his cuisine and offer cheese platters, too.
"I'm just an extension of Mick and what he represents. This is home for him, so I want him to feel comfortable with the foods," says Leibfried, who adds he hasn't "completely defined the menu yet."
"I do know it will be a very Americanized style of cuisine, paying respect to fresh island ingredients and seafood. I've searched out independent farmers with fresh strawberries, goat cheeses and such. It's important we showcase a sense of community here."
Leibfried is from New York originally and has traveled extensively to learn his craft. He's spent time on Martha's Vineyard and other resorts in the North East along with time in London and Italy.
"I ended up living out here 15 or 16 years ago and was just hanging out and going to the beach," he says. "I've come full circle. It's my second time around."
The chef will give a nod to Mick's English heritage on the menu and "beef Wellington will make an appearance time and again. I'll also do playful twists on classic, English pub food such as bangers and mash. But I'll put it on toasted flat bread with fontina cheese."
For dessert, Leibfried is currently experimenting with Mick Fleetwood's Drum, a chocolate-encased delectable that you tap until it breaks. It might be like a 'smore inside or something else hot and gooey.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and the chef is also dreaming up menus that work well for gospel or blues Sunday brunches. And, job seekers note, the restaurant will be hiring staff, starting next week.
"Around the country, the lack of jobs has been taking its toll. In Lahaina we are working hard to do our part to create opportunities on island and are dedicated to hiring within the community," says Jonathan Todd, managing partner and Mick's longtime manager.
"We are making a concerted effort to attract strong team members, create an environment where people can get back to work, taxes can be generated, and the surrounding area can benefit from our success."
"If candidates feel that they are the best of the best, and have experience in casual elegant dining, or retail sales, Fleetwood's on Front St. wants to hear from you," Todd continues. "We will accept applications on site and conduct interviews from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday."
But will Leibfried be the kitchen boss from hell with his "Hell's Kitchen" background?
"I'll offer praise when it's due and I will discipline staff appropriately, not in front of others."
See? He's a kind soul, just like Mick.
"Mick is an incredibly generous soul, welcoming and so accommodating," says Bitton. "One day at his Kula farm, we went through photos to hang in the restaurant. He took the time to go over and beyond to make me feel comfortable. At the end of the day, he offered me a guitar and we jammed together."
"We've both put in a lot of time and effort to make this a Maui icon and we want the community to know this is for them and it's here to stay."