Location, location, location! That can make or break you in the restaurant business. That’s why Migrant, the wonderful establishment where Chef Sheldon Simeon has created a fine dining menu by elevating local cuisine and flavors, is leaving the Marriott in Wailea next month.
“We want to be in Wailuku,” Simeon says. “It’s important to us to be where locals are, and be a part of that community.”
Wailea has served Migrant well. It’s gained a following with both tourists and locals in its few years at the Marriott. But when it came time to renew their lease, the Migrant team decided to make their move. The restaurant closes May 15 and will reopen in Wailuku at a later date. Exactly when isn’t known right now.
“We encourage everybody to come out and eat as much as possible because there will be a hiatus,” says Melanie Wicker, the Events Sales and Marketing Manager at Mala Wailea and Migrant. “Migrant will be re-opening in Wailuku, but we haven’t found our permanent and final location. We are looking, we have lots of big dreams and ideas. My guess is we will open in early 2017.”
Finding a new spot where they want to be is a bit of a challenge. There are no new turnkey spots in Wailuku for a restaurant operation like Migrant. Many of the old existing buildings, though charming, require renovation and build-outs.
“The county wants us to be there, the mayor wants us to be there,” says Wicker. “They all have ideas of Sheldon being the anchor for Wailuku, and being a part of the revitalization and making Wailuku a dining destination.”
In the meantime, Sheldon Simeon has been busy at his new little Kahului lunch spot Tin Roof (in addition to working Migrant).
“I’m glad we can offer new options for lunch in Kahului,” says Simeon. “I’m so grateful and honored by the outpouring of support we have had so far. People are lining up before we open at 10 in the morning to try our food!”
Tin Roof is has a simple but phenomenal menu of proteins and veggies in rice bowls with some add-ons, a few salads, noodles and sandwiches. On their first day they sold out of everything and had to close the next day to regroup. Simeon says they’re still figuring out where they need to be to keep things in stock. Tin Roof is very mom-and-pop, with Simeon’s wife Janice at the counter taking orders while he works with the kitchen staff to pack up the dishes.
The menu ranges from $5 to $10. The poke bowl was out the day I visited but we were able to sample the mochiko chicken, chop steak, scrimps, chicken sando, dry mein, kale salad and beet box. The beet box was a sleeper hit in the office–deep fried beets swished in spices, then topped with an aioli and furikake. We took turns sampling the spicy side. You can choose white or brown rice. All the bowls come with banchan but you can order little extras like sous vide egg, ulu mac salad and a special blend furikake called “dime bag.”
While Mala Wailea will close, you can still enjoy the Mala menu at the original Mala location in Lahaina. Mala Ocean Tavern is one of Lahaina’s hot spots in Mark Ellman’s trio of restaurants on the north end of Front Street. The Marriott will absorb the existing Mala Wailea dining room for banquet space. The Migrant location is going to be taken over by Roy Yamaguchi for a new Roy’s restaurant.
“It will be a new concept restaurant, not the traditional Roy’s Restaurant,” says Wicker. “That will probably be coming in mid-December.”
For now, Migrant has been busy as word gets around about the restaurant moving, so reservations are recommended. I’ve been by to get my fix of sake and hibachi hangar steak, kudesh noodles and kale salad. Happy hour runs 4-6pm daily.
3700 Wailea Alunui
360 Papa Pl., Kahului