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5 PALMS

Rock stars, brides and grooms all flock to Keawakapu hot spot famous for views, gourmet cuisine, weddings

5 Palms Restaurant Manager Kellie O’Rourke (left), and Weddings & Events Manager Bobbilyn Jones toast to the new year. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photos

5 Palms Restaurant in Kihei beckons to the romantics among us.

Couples craving gourmet cuisine while dining at an oceanfront table for two adore it at the first bite. Brides and grooms longing for that perfect location for two or up to 200 of their treasured guests are booking all year long. And legendary rock stars such as Alto Reed, the saxophonist for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, are enjoying it when they’re on island.

Reed chatted for a couple of minutes at lunch Friday when he was savoring pupu and sipping wine with girlfriend Christiana Van Ryn and other pals. Marti Frederiksen, (of The Loving Mary Band that performs with Steven Tyler), also dined at 5 Palms the same day.

“We do weddings and receptions all of the time here,” says Bobbilyn Jones, 5 Palms weddings and events manager, at a table near Reed. “You can book the main dining room or its upper level only, the patio or even do a full buyout of the restaurant.”

Everyone has front row seats of the sunset and beach action. The restaurant is open air and overlooks Keawakapu Beach in Kihei with views all the way to Pu’u Olai cinder cone at Makena and West Maui mountains in the other direction.

Haiku glassblower Evan Schauss (left) with Florida friend Alto Reed, sax player for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

New for couples is the Platinum Package, in which you purchase a wedding ceremony only for out on the lawn.

“It’s really popular with local families,” says Jones. “We can accommodate from two to 200 people for formal and casual events, renewals, anniversaries and other types of celebrations. While we can still do the food, we are now able to book just the ceremony at 5 Palms.”

For weddings, 5 Palms delights couples with bamboo archways draped in billowy white material, white-padded folding chairs, fruit-infused water stations and more. You book your own officiant.

“We set up on the gorgeous lawn for you and your guests,” says Jones. “Or we can do cocktail receptions with sushi boats. If you want a more elaborate feast, you move into the restaurant areas. It’s Kihei affordable with Wailea views.”

As for the rest of us who simply want to dine at 5 Palms, no occasion is needed. The expansive restaurant serves breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., two happy hours and a bustling dinner.

Sleep in late and wake up to eggs Benedict in the early afternoon, or come in early and order a burger for breakfast and throw in a Bloody Mary, to boot.

“Other popular breakfast items are loco mocos, crab and avocado omelets that come with either a side salad or fresh fruit and ahi Benedicts,” says Jones.

“I’m really excited about our new team of restaurant managers,” adds GM Moki Chong Kee. “We’ve got Kellie O’Rourke and Ed Carlson, both well known on Maui for being in the industry.”

Happy hour is huge at 5 Palms and it runs from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with half off select sushi and pupu. Condo dwellers above often come down to the beach at sunset and blow their conch shells in the most entertaining of impromptu shows. The late-night happy hour runs from 9 to 10 p.m. with half off of the entire sushi menu.

Happy hour pupu highlights are barbecue ribs, crispy Brussels sprouts, Korean chicken wings, edamame hummus and baked chile shrimp on toasted bread. Sushi ranges from the Spider Roll with soft shell crab to the sashimi trio.

As for dinner, “Our most unique entree is the fish en Bastille,” says O’Rourke. “We wrap fresh catch, usually monchong, in what we call ‘angel-hair’ potato. We pan sear it to make the potato nice and crispy and finish it in the oven. We also fly in Kona lobsters from the Big Island daily.”

Vegetarians will find the Molokai potato gnocchi and the Upcountry pasta delightful. Do save room for the creme brulee artfully presented in a pineapple ring. It will bring out the romantic in you.

• Where: Located oceanfront on Keawakapu Beach at the Mana Kai Resort in Kihei.

• Hours: Breakfast and lunch are both served from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. until closing nightly.

• Happy hours: The first cheerful one runs from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with half off select sushi and pupu. A second late-night happy hour runs from 9 to 10 nightly with half off the entire sushi menu.

• Kamaaina discounts: Those with Hawaii ID receive 20 percent off of entrees daily.

• Weddings: Book the Platinum Package for ceremonies only on the lawn. Or opt for cocktail receptions with sushi boats outdoors, or more elaborate affairs in the restaurant or on the patio. For more details, call 633-1566 or email 5palms@gmail.com.

• For restaurant reservations: Call 5 Palms at 879-2607.