Maui is buzzing over Chef Sheldon Simeon’s new full-service restaurant, Lineage, located at the Shops of Wailea. The restaurant concept draws on Simeon’s experiences and memories of growing up on Hawai‘i’s Big Island and the many cultures and cuisines that comprise the “Hawaiian Spirit.” The menu was designed to evoke the feeling of dining at home alongside extended family and feasting on family-style dishes typical of a Hawaiian luau – in a relaxed community atmosphere.
When news of the restaurant’s opening hit the coconut wireless, social media posts started populating the feeds: “We should go,” “I have to try this,” and “This weekend!,” were among the most common responses to Lineage and its menu that features Simeon family recipes as its foundation.
Maui’s favorite “Top Chef” designed the menu to celebrate the food of his Filipino ancestors, as well as a life growing up on the islands. A handful of the dishes also honor and acknowledge the family recipes of some of Simeon’s kitchen staff. With the motto “Eat, Drink, Talk Story,” Lineage embraces the importance of keeping tradition alive and the passing down of recipes within families over the years, according to a restaurant spokesperson.
The menu is comprised of a selection of family-style pupus, snacks, entrees, and desserts. To begin, mobile carts built by Simeon’s father (a former welder by trade) go from guest to guest, offering dim-sum style appetizers including pickled Hawaiian fruit, boiled peanuts, and Kim Chee Dip served with Hilo-based Maebo “one-ton” chips reminiscent of Chef Sheldon’s childhood.
Highlighted snacks include chicharon with adobo spice, served with chili pepper water backs; poi mochi with shio koji chicken liver pate and furikake; cone sushi with aburage, salmon skin rice, and ikura; and Maui flying saucer, a dish Simeon is said to remember from the Maui Fair, with beef goulash and American cheese. Also, Simeon and the Lineage team are sourcing ingredients and produce locally as much as possible, including items from Oprah Farms and O‘koa Farms.
Family-style entrees include land, sea, rice or noodle, and vegetarian options such as Hoppin’ Juan’s, inspired by Simeon’s time in South Carolina during “Top Chef,” with garlic rice, black eyed peas, oxtail, and marungay; pork n peas, a Simeon family recipe with tomato gravy and green peas; katsu curry, fried cauliflower with golden curry; adobo turkey tails with shoyu vinegar tare, shaved onions, and tomato; and garden poke with gobo kinpira, radish, brassica, inamona, and limu.
Lineage also offers a number of “large format” dishes such as crispy pata with choke herbs, Braddah Tommy sauce, finadene, and lettuce; and huli huli, a whole chicken with Oprah Farms corn and kim chee. Guests can finish the meal with guri-guri, a Maui favorite that is a a cross between sherbet and ice cream, with toasted rice, puffed rice, and tea sherbet; and Filipino cereal with avocado, créme cracker milk, and saloon pilot.
To create an innovative beverage menu, Simeon has brought aboard the 2017 “Best Mixologist on Maui,” Aaron Alcala-Mosley, previously of Maui’s Cow Pig Bin and the Fairmont Kea Lani. Each table starts with a palate-cleansing pot of Ryocucha, toasted brown rice green tea mixed with Hawaiian mamaki tea. Guests are then encouraged to imbibe with a cocktail. Selections include Gimme Da Chicken Skin, with Prairie cucumber vodka, Broker’s Gin, Carpano Bianco, false lime, false ‘awa, shoyu, and habañero shrub, served with crispy chicken skins; Mai’a Tai with Banks 5 Rum, banana milk punch, walnut, pecan, Giffard Apricot De Rousillon, lime, and almond spice liqueur; Panda Xpress with Bozal Ensemble Mezcal, Rittenhouse Rye, adobo oil, lemon, grilled pineapple shrub, red wine, egg white; Keito Izakaya with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, sesame shrub, served out of a soy sauce bottle with a side of edamame; and Maria Sangrenta (Lineage’s take on a Bloody Mary), with Portuguese bean soup, tomato juice, “piri-piri” salt, celery-cilantro foam, berbere.
The beverage menu also includes a variety of local and national craft beers, available in bottle and on tap – featuring selections from Maui Brewing Co., Kohola Brewery, Lanikai Brewing Co., and Big Island Brewhaus, as well as a selection of wines, sakes and shōchūs. A creative selection of handcrafted non-alcoholic mocktails are also available, including the Moon On The Sea with pineapple, coconut water, cinnamon, clover, white peppercorn, and blue spirulina; Turtle Town with jabuticaba, black pepper, balsamic, basil, lemon, and tonic; and Menko Madness with housemade POG (passionfruit-orange-guava juice), coconut cream, lemon-lime soda, and egg white.
Helming the front of house is Simeon’s partner and General Manager, Matt Godfrey. The two met when they worked together at Migrant Maui as executive chef and general manager duo; Godfrey also previously managed Mala Wailea, Cool Cat Cafe, and Captain Jack’s Island Grill, as well as a number of other restaurants, nightclubs, and sports bars. Working in the kitchen alongside Chef Sheldon is Chef de Cuisine Rob Ramshur, who previously worked in kitchens at Maui’s Savage Kitchen and San Francisco’s Lazy Bear, Mourad, and Almanac Beer Co.
Partnering with the Lineage team is locally owned and run ABC Stores. Founded in 1964 by the Kosasa family of first-generation Japanese immigrants, the company has become an international concept and a major staple in Hawaiian society. ABC Stores’ story, just as that of Simeon’s, reinstates the meaning of the “Hawaiian spirit” and the importance of family, or lineage, especially as it relates to food.
The look and feel of Lineage was inspired by Simeon’s nostalgia of his upbringing in Hilo. The space is filled with vibrant greenery and natural colors and materials, all representative of Hilo’s jungle-like landscapes, bright green foliage, and rugged coastline. The distressed concrete and wood materials are reminiscent of Hilo’s dark asphalt grounds and weathered buildings and bridges. An abstract map of the layout of Hilo is displayed on the restaurant’s wooden wall, and tiles representing Hilo’s constant pattern of rain line the wall behind the bar. The dining room seats 36 guests indoors and 36 guests on the outdoor patio, as well as 12 guests at the restaurant’s bar. A selection of the serving pieces are sourced from Maui-based ceramics brands Altar and Curtmaui.
Simeon competed on the 10th season of Bravo’s “Top Chef: Seattle,” and again on season 14: Charleston, winning Fan Favorite both seasons. Along with his wife Janice, Sheldon also owns and operates Tin Roof in Kahului, where he serves innovative, local lunch-style dishes in take-out bowls.
Lineage is located at The Shops at Wailea and is open seven days a week, serving dinner from 5PM – 11PM. Lunch service will be added in the future. A limited number of reservations are available daily at 5PM and 9PM, and all seatings in between are first come first serve. Lineage offers a 25% kama‘āina discount for locals.
Photo courtesy of Lineage