130 Kai Malina Pkwy.
Public opening December 21
This is the first restaurant media event where I left hungry. It’s not that the team at the new Duke’s Beach House in Kaanapali didn’t try to feed me—there was plenty of food. Like the scrumptious crispy coconut shrimp pupu, fried to perfection with moist shrimp and tart lilikoi dipping sauce. Or the slow-roasted mango BBQ ribs, featuring succulent baby-back pork glazed with tangy sauce. But this was the TS Restaurant opening of the year; conversation flowed as easy as the beer and I was determined to absorb it all.
Duke’s Beach House is nestled beachfront at the Honua Kai Kaanapali’s newest “condotel” accommodations, featuring 628 guest suites in an ownership resort.
Seating is practically on the ocean on the West side’s coveted North Beac; the sunsets here will be stunning. Stone tiled floors and Ohia logs grace the outdoor open-air dining area that seats 245 people. Invoking the spirit of its namesake, photos of Duke Kahanamoku are found within, along with other cultural artwork, including rare lei hulu pieces, vintage handcrafted wood surfboards and an outrigger canoe.
This restaurant is destined to follow in the footsteps of the many TS establishments before it—12 in all, with Duke’s Beach House being number four on Maui, joining Kimo’s, Leilani’s and Hula Grill. They’re all known for consistent quality in both food and service, and an easygoing island tropical style. In fact, Duke’s Waikiki is one of the most popular restaurants on Oahu.
The executive chef behind the menu is none other than Scott McGill, who has spent 16 years with TS Restaurants. His primary residence on Maui and experience at Kimo’s, Hula Grill and Duke’s Waikiki means he can expand on his knowledge of these successes and create a superb new menu for Maui that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fresh island fish, local produce and Angus beef all play key roles in the new Duke’s menu.
If I have to blame someone for my hunger, perhaps I’ll point the finger at Shaughn Helliar, a new addition to the TS team and general manager of Duke’s Beach House. His captivating story of how he went from Sydney Australia resident to Maui convert kept me from consuming much of the seared ahi crostini being passed around. Helliar’s enthusiasm for his new post should serve the restaurant well as they prepare for the public opening on December 21.
“The cuisine has a focus on fresh, sustainable seafood and premium steaks,” Helliar tells me. “I look forward to providing the residents and visitors of Maui with the Duke’s dining experience they know and love from our other locations, enhanced by a locally inspired menu.”
Helliar’s instant fit with the TS team is a testament to his dedication—he’s logged 20 years in the restaurant industry, and the soft launch of this gorgeous new property marks his one year anniversary on Maui—to the day. “It will be the public that decides what to do with this place,” he says, adding that the goal is to “have fun…it’s not brain surgery.” Jen Russo, MauiTime