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A win-win bingo for restaurants

Neighbors: Profiles of our community

Kenny Ward (from left), Angela Ching, Tom Tezak, Jordan Kamikawa and Liza Pierce are the masterminds behind “South Maui Take-Out Bingo,” a fun and tasty way to support Maui restaurants amid the COVID-19 crisis. Photos courtesy of Tom Tezak

If you ask Tom Tezak to name the best places to eat in South Maui — well, you may want to clear your schedule.

It’s a long list.

Tezak has lived in South Maui for two decades, and in that time, he’s frequented more restaurants, cafes and coffee shops than he can count. Tezak is the co-owner of Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate and leads the Lifestyle Maui Real Estate Team, whose members include Tezak, Angela Ching, Jordan Kamikawa and Kenny Ward. Since 2018, the foursome has filmed a food-centric YouTube series titled “A Taste of Paradise.” In each episode, Tezak, Ching, Kamikawa and Ward — often accompanied by Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate social media strategist Liza Pierce — visit eateries islandwide and share their experiences with viewers.

Since the series began, the team has come to know many of the people — owners, managers, chefs, kitchen staff, bartenders and servers — who bring their talents to Maui’s food and beverage scene. So, when Hawaii’s stay-at-home order was enacted in March, they became deeply concerned about the economic impact on local restaurants.

“I kept thinking ‘how can I help?’ “ Tezak said. Then, one afternoon, he spotted a social media post about a bingo-style contest somewhere on the Mainland. That’s when an idea began to take shape. A few days later, Tezak and his team debuted “South Maui Take-Out Bingo” on Facebook as a way to support local restaurants amid the pandemic. The all-in-good-fun game runs through May 31.

South Maui resident Tom Tezak is on a mission to help local restaurants of all stripes weather the COVID-19 storm.

Here’s how it works: There are 25 squares on the South Maui Take-Out Bingo board; each has the name of a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop currently open for takeout (and if any business on the board ceases operations before May 31, that square can be used for any restaurant on Maui).

After ordering and picking up a take-out order, hang on to your receipt and snap a photo of your meal to post on the Lifestyle Maui Real Estate Facebook page. When you achieve a bingo — by filling five consecutive squares on the board horizontally, vertically or diagonally — take a photo of all five receipts and send it via email to SouthMauiBingo@gmail.com. All participants who email a photo of their five receipts by May 31 will be eligible to win a prize of $250 in restaurant gift certificates; the team is sponsoring the gift certificates and will pick a random winner on June 1. Tezak said any kind of take-out order qualifies (anything from a latte to a four-course meal), and there is no required minimum dollar amount.

There’s also a bonus game: Follow @lifestyle_maui on Instagram and share a photo of your take-out order with the hashtag #SouthMauiTakeOutBingo, and you’ll be entered into a weekly $25 gift card drawing through the end of the month.

Tezak, Ching, Kamikawa and Ward aren’t doing this for a profit. Instead, they hope to reap the greatest reward: Helping these businesses weather the COVID-19 storm.

“This is a way to support our local restaurants . . . and have some fun in the process,” Tezak said.

For more information about South Maui Take-Out Bingo, visit the Lifestyle Maui Real Estate Team Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lifestylemauirealestate or call Tezak at 280-2055. To view past episodes of “A Taste of Paradise,” visit www.youtube.com/channel/UCUnMxPuMpXIIWLc2KazbxKg.

* Sarah Ruppenthal is a Maui-based writer. Do you have an interesting neighbor? Tell us about them at missruppenthal@gmail.com. Neighbors and “The State of Aloha,” written by Ben Lowenthal, alternate Fridays.

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