Maui’s legacy thrives

Restaurant benefactors and hospitality awards share in the spotlight

Isle restaurateur Paris Nabavi (left), and Tori Speere of Maui Book Trust celebrate Nabavi Legacy Fund’s recent donation to the nonprofit that helps kids take books home to read and to share with family. Carla Tracy photo

“If you want to go first, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together,” says restaurateur Paris Nabavi, quoting an old African proverb.

With his wife, Donna Nabavi, Paris owns and operates the Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill in Honokowai Marketplace. They give back to nonprofits what they sow from serving Persian feasts at their Kaanapali home and from restaurant partners.

To announce the most recent beneficiaries, the Nabavi Legacy Fund luncheon was held at Maui Food Innovation Center so the couple could donate $20,000 to worthy island causes, such as the American Heart Association’s Kids Cook With Heart program, Maui Book Trust, Grow Some Good and Maui Food Innovation Center that is under University of Hawaii Maui College. To attend a Persian dinner and donate, visit www.chefnabavi.org.

USA Today just published its 2019 Readers Choice Awards, and Ka’anapali Beach won the “best beach” in Hawaii. A former retreat for Hawaii alii, or royalty, Ka’anapali Beach boasts three-and-a-half miles of gorgeous sand with restaurants running up and down its ocean stretch.

Also in the USA Today awards, Monkeypod Kitchen won the “best name” and Leilani’s on the Beach won the coveted “best restaurant” title, explains Shelley Kekuna, Ka’anapali Beach Resort Association’s longtime executive director.

Situated at Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, at Kaanapali, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa has launched a new dinner menu at its signature ROCKsalt restaurant. Now you may order Brazilian cheese bread and lobster tail Asian noodles along with its lineup of globally-inspired shared plates.

“The ROCKsalt menu continues to spotlight exotic spices and ingredients matched with fresh local produce from Hawaii farms,” says Executive Chef Lyndon Honda, who will set the stage for part of the statewide Hawaii Food & Wine Festival with Maui events set to get you hungry and thirsty from Oct. 18 to 20 at the Sheraton and Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa nearby.

On a roll as it always is, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kapalua appeals to locals, visitors and celebs that frequent the resort. Actor David Boreanaz (“SEAL Team” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and actress wife, Jaime Bergman, brought their two keiki to enjoy contemporary Asian creations at Sansei Kapalua twice in the last 10 days. Shout out to longtime server Todd Straka as the celeb couple asked to be seated in his section again.

Looking for resort food and drink happenings? The Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea is jumping with a new summer series.

“We have recently launched an Aloha Friday summer series that runs through Aug. 9,” says Alexis Eaton, director of public relations for Fairmont. “It features a local spirit showcase at LUANA with live music, the ‘Poi, Poke, Pua’a’ special at Ko and the Made on Maui Market with local artisans.”

At LUANA lobby lounge, this Friday’s featured local spirit will be Kula Rum, followed by Ocean Vodka on Aug. 2 and Old Lahaina Rum on Aug. 9.

“A special bar will be available between 4 and 5 p.m.,” continues Eaton. “The spirit drink specials will be available all night Fridays until 11p.m.”

The Poi, Poke and Pua’a meal at Ko has Hawaiian chicken luau, kalua pork, lomilomi salmon, ahi poke, poi, Molokai sweet potatoes, coconut haupia and Maui Gold pineapple.