In early February, Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei site opened its brand new restaurant. The popular tasting room and brewery have been there for several years, and regulars and the Pau Hana crowd will be happy to hear that the tasting room remains the same. Behind the long bar are whimsical signs for 32 beers with colorful names. Tourists and locals browse the selections, ordering samplers and projects. There are still board games and a giant Connect Four set, and a covered outdoor lanai for lounging. In the evenings, beer drinkers listen to live music from local bands and singers like Rowdy Love.
But MBC no longer has visiting food trucks parked outside and now offers its own fare, as does its brewery in Kahana. Across a small corridor from the front room, the new restaurant occupies an important place.
The restaurant offers a full menu, designed by Angela Terry, the company’s menu manager. It’s similar to other breweries in Hawaii, with snacks like House Cut Fries, Pork Belly Bao, Ahi Poke Tacos, and MBC Nachos. Then there are salads, sandwiches, delicious pizzas, burgers, Bikini Blonde Fish & Chips and fish tacos. Making all this food is the responsibility of Chef Terry Lynch, who has worked all over the world. His most recent job was executive chef and partner of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group.
The craft beer options remain the same in terms of creativity and palatability. Old favorites like Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter are available alongside savory beers named after beloved Hawaii spots – Black Rock, Lahaina Town Brown, and La Perouse White – as well as POG, Coconut, and Father. Damien.
“It’s been part of our brewing head office’s vision for a long time,” said Founder and CEO Garrett Marrero. The cavernous 8,500 square foot addition is a tasteful warehouse style dining room and bar. Maui Brewing Company worked with Oahu’s WCIT Architecture, who also designed Nobu Honolulu and Andaz Maui, to create the space. They also designed MBC’s Waikiki location.
The same creative spirit that goes into brewing and designing their craft beers went into the design of their restaurant. In the dining room, huge garage door style doors open onto the veranda, creating an exterior feel to the whole area. “The restaurant opens onto a very large garden of succulents and rocks,” says Melanie M. Oxley, COO of Maui Brewing Company.
“We adopted a nifty industrial look for our design scheme,” explains Oxley. “There are large wooden patterns in a shape to represent beer barley that separate the bar from the dining room tables. This helps create some privacy between the two areas and break up the large open floor plan. They are placed at different altitudes to add an additional design element.
The large dining room is separated from the bar area by a raised barrier with angular patterns in wood and steel. The barrier and cascade of lights hanging above the bar follow the profile of Haleakala and Mauna Kahalawai. The highboy bar and bar tables are a smooth and pleasant poured concrete.
“The brewery space itself is like a work of art, so we’re really excited to build on that through the new restaurant space,” Chris Thibaut, Restaurant CEO of Maui Brewing Company. While the space is modern and industrial, touches of island themes soften the edges.
Behind the bar, floor-to-ceiling windows give bar patrons a glimpse of the brewery’s huge steel tubs and Willy Wonka’s mysterious machines. “With a direct view of the brewery and distillery, customers feel immersed in the craft brewing culture,” says Marrero. As well as being a solid place for a pau hana, dinner or meeting, “It’s a special space for events given the location with views of mountain peaks and the ocean,” says Oxley .
Maui Brewing Company
605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei
First and third photos: Sean M. Hower
Nachos Photo: MauiTime