Peter Merriman Swoops In To Coveted Kapalua Location

Local Product And Ocean Fronting Ambiance Ensues

Peter Merriman Swoops In To Coveted Kapalua Location

A rather sizeable announcement nearly slipped through the cracks of the holiday season: Big Island Hawaii Regional Cuisine pioneer Peter Merriman will skip the pond to Maui in order to open a signature restaurant at the newly revitalized Kapalua Resort.

On the oceanfront site of the former Bay Club, Merriman's Kapalua will be "chef-driven" (according to the press release; we're going to have to ask Mr. Merriman exactly what that means. Will only the chef get to park at the restaurant" Does only the head chef call the shots" Such a mystery...)

We at B on Hawaii were able to get ahold of Chef Merriman at short notice, where we found him trolling the climes of Miami Beach, where he's recruiting talent to wield kitchen knives at Merriman's Kapalua.

"In my opinion, the site is one of the most beautiful locations in the entire world," said Merriman in an exclusive interview.

What learned is that Merriman's Kapalua will be a fine dining restaurant that specializes in locally grown, raised and caught foods. While this is fairly par for the course in upscale Hawaii dining, Merriman has predominately been a "farm to table" chef, who will be making good use of on-site (and organic) Kapalua Farms. And we're not just talking Maui Gold pineapples (although they will be used liberally): Kapalua Farms, according to our inside source, has been adding varieties of vegetables, fruits, baby greens, and more in recent months.

"I use locally produced goods first, then organic second. It's imperative for sustaining a community, and you also wind up with the best quality dishes," said Merriman.

We managed to sneak in a question about the chef's thoughts on the move to Maui.

"When I moved to Waimea 19 years ago, there was no one growing anything there. Now, it's booming with produce. If you look at West Maui, it has a history of agriculture that goes as far back as we know," said Merriman. "It will be really nice to cultivate the agricultural process [through Kapalua Farms] – where tourism and real estate command so much attention."

Merriman's Kapalua will open in June of this year with a wine list of 250 selections, inclusive of a handful of biodynamic and organic wines. Formerly, Peter Merriman operated his namesake Big Island restaurant in Waimea, as well as a second location in the Queens Shops at Waikoloa. Prior, Merriman was the executive chef at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the island's Kohala Coast. He has been nominated three times for the prestigious James Beard Award for "Best Chef".

We will interview Peter Merriman this Spring, as we get closer to the opening of Merriman's Kapalua, and get the full dish.

Visit www.kapalua.com for more information.

"I use locally produced goods first, then organic second. It's imperative for sustaining a community, and you also wind up with the best quality dishes." – Merriman