Chef Chris Schobel kind of always knew he was going to open a barbecue joint, he just didn’t get to it until later in life. So when he got the opportunity to buy Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse restaurant in Kihei a while back, he jumped at it and has slow-rolled major changes here and there, creating a completely new space and new menu right under our noses at this popular Kihei Kalama Village location.
“I used to go to Memphis in May and I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for six months,” says Schobel. “I have been smoking meat at my Pennsylvania house forever. My fake restaurant concept in culinary school was a barbecue restaurant. So it’s always been in the back of my mind. I would love to have a barbecue restaurant. I had a vision of what it could be.”
Nailing a barbecue concept restaurant wasn’t the first thing he did on Maui.
“I got started with TS restaurants as an intern when I was 32,” says Schobel. “I was in culinary school in New York freezing my butt off trying to get an internship in Australia. Mark Kowalski was the chef at Hula Grill then Scott McGill came in. He and Peter tried to talk me into staying instead of going back to finish my culinary degree.”
But Schobel says didn’t bite at the Maui dream then.
“I did go back and finish the program,” he says. “Then I went to Australia to their Cordon Bleu and got a Bachelors of Business in International Catering and Management. Finally, when I was deciding whether to move to Singapore or back to the states, Hula Grill came in and made me an offer. I came to Maui and five years later I was Executive Chef at Hula Grill.”
Then Fat Daddy’s was up for sale.
“I was with TS Restaurants for about eight years total,” says Schobel. “I loved that job. It was hard to leave that to open my own barbecue restaurant. I knew that I was going to have to make a lot of changes.”
From new flooring, to painting the ceiling to rearranging the bar, Fat Daddy’s looks like an entirely new place. Schobel says he did have to close for about two weeks last November for some of the renovations.
“We did a lot of our own work,” he says. “We redid all of the tables. It cost a lot more to do some of it that way, but it kept us busy while the doors were closed.”
The dining room has sleek cement floors, wood tables, a communal bench with comfy pillows and great old Hawaiian paniolo imagery on the walls. The bar seats about four. Schobel says that he plans to get new bar stools and such. But the space is already perfect for hunkering down with a giant plate of barbecued meats and sides with a cold drink.
I don’t know the darndest thing about barbecue in terms of how the smoke and lower temps actually cook the meat tenderly over 12 to 16 or more hours. What I do know is that I love the smoky flavor over beef and pork. They do Angus beef brisket, St. Louis style pork ribs, pulled pork, spicy links, chicken and a chef’s special cut called Burnt Ends. They aren’t burnt at all, but are the tender trimmings of the ends of the brisket tossed in sauce and then back into the smoker.
You can order the barbecue by the pound, as a plate with sides or on their spectacular sampler plate that comes with sides to be eaten family-style. Their sides are so good they almost steal the show. Mac and cheese, chili garlic beans, local seasonal veggies, house-made potato chips and freakin’ amazing corn bread. There is never enough corn bread.
Vegetarians need not be afraid of the smokehouse. The salads are great and there’s even more than one. They offer a Waipoli Farms watercress salad, cole slaw, a local crisp green salad and potato salad.
Schobel has a good bar program going with Fat Tire on tap as well as an Irish ale from Kohala the new Lahaina brewery. Lots of great handcrafted cocktails to savor with your selection of smoked meats.
I’m going to tell you now to save room for dessert, as Elizabeth McDonald of Beach Bunny Bakery fame is making the sweets. Like her legendary homemade marshmallow-topped the s’mores cheesecake, which I devoured. I have no idea how my daughter fit a key lime pie on top of a plate of ribs and mac and cheese. Let’s just say she wasn’t going to let us get any bites of it.
Right now Fat Daddy’s is open 4-9pm, but Schobel says he’ll add a lunch hour in the future. He’s also a bit busy with his three-year old daughter Adelaide and expecting a new baby girl in April. Look for his amazing barbecue at the Maui Ag Fest the first week of April, too.
All items served a la carte (just meat)
Who’s Your Daddy?
ALL 6 Meats + 2 Cornbreads + 2 Large Sides 68
Ribs Full Rack 28 1/2 Rack 16
St. Louis-style pork ribs, slow cooked for 5 hours
Brisket 1lb. 25 1/2lb. 13
Certified Angus Beef
Pulled Pork 1 lb. 16.5 1/2 lb. 9
Smoked overnight, shredded and served with your choice of sauce
Chicken Full Bird 22 1/2 Bird 12
Amazingly tender and served with choice of sauce
TX Hot Links 1 lb. 16 1/2 lb. 8.5
Smoked Beef and Pork Sausage
Burnt Ends 1 lb. 26 1/2 lb. 13.5
The trimmings of our classic brisket, re-smoked
Comes with your choice of any 2 Sides.
For Fancy Sides add $1.75 each.
Make your plate FAT! Add your choice of
1/4 chicken, pulled pork or links for an additional 7.
Add ribs, burnt ends or brisket for 9.
Pulled Pork 15
Chopped Beef 17
1/2 Chicken 17
Burnt Ends 18.5
TX Hot Links 15.5
Comes with One Side
& Housemade Potato Chips
Pulled Pork 13
Chopped Beef 14
Roscoe’s Texas Chili
Loaded with Chips, Sour Cream,
Jalapenos, Onions & Cheese 12
Chili Garlic Beans 5 7
Slow cooked pinto beans loaded
Carolina Style 4.5 6.75
Mac‘N’Cheese 5 8
Potato Salad 5 7.5
Watercress Salad 6 9
Napa cabbage, sprouts, carrots
and radish with a soy ginger vinaigrette
Local Salad 4 6.5
Hydroponic romaine, carrots,
tomato and cucumber
Jalapeno Hush Puppies 5
Corn Bread 3.5
Smoked Devil Eggs 6
Seasonal Local Veg 5
Housemade Potato Chips 3
S’mores Cheesecake 7
Lilikoi Trifle 7.5
Key Lime Pie 6.5