Saturday, June 14, was a special day for many locals. Following in the spirit and excitement of the Kamehameha Day Parade, The Wharf Cinema Center celebrated the blessing of three of its newest businesses which are all located in the Plaza area of the Center.
Since it’s official opening in February, Makani Kai Island Grill & Bar has been serving local food and fresh fish which is delivered by the boats right across the street at the Lahaina Harbor. “We are excited to be here,” said Stewart Bahl who co-owns the restaurant alongside his wife, Jamie Bahl. “We wanted to build a place where we would have wanted to hang out when we came to the islands [on vacation]: a comfortable, casual atmosphere with really good food featuring local fish and local spirits and beers.”
Shaka Vibe Bubble Tea & Treats is proud to be the only and best bubble tea shop on Maui. “The locals have really taken to our product and to our store,” said Rowel Basco who shares in the ownership of the store with his brother, Romil Basco. “They are really the ones who have been promoting us since we opened and we really appreciate the local support.”
India Express, the youngest of the three establishments, offers the very best Indian cuisine. “I make the food from scratch and use local vegetables,” said owner and chef Vatir “Jay” Hussain. “The food is freshly made and people love it. Come stop by and try all of the different dishes.”
For the grand opening of these delicious new eateries, Kahu Kapono Kamaunu gave a special blessing at noon complete with the blowing of the conch shell by student, Ua Bradshaw.
“The blessing was excellent, we really loved it,” Basco said. “My favorite part was the traditional Hawaiian blowing of the conch shell and having the officiator coming in through the store and actually blessing the whole place. It felt like it made it really official.”
Hassain said that he thinks the blessing will bring good luck to his business and he hopes that good fortune will extend to his family as well.
Bahl said that the blessing was a very spiritual, cleansing process that evoked a lot of positive energy which is a great way to kick things off. “We wanted to bring a whole energy to the entire courtyard down here. We’re kind of all intertwined where we sit at the Wharf Center, and all three of us started at around the same time so we thought why not just do a blessing for all of us at once,” Bahl said.
Basco agreed that blessing all three of the businesses at once was a great idea. “We got to share in the advertising and media, especially since we had it on a great day like the Kamehameha Day Parade where we had more exposure,” Basco said.
KONI 104.7 was present to help with marketing as they featured a live broadcast of all the events throughout the day which included food and beverage specials, prizes, free face painting, and live entertainment by Jason Ho and Ben Uyetake.
“A great day and plenty of food and fun was had by all,” said Director of Sales & Marketing Narda McDaniel in a June 14 press release.
The Wharf Cinema Center is located in Lahaina, directly across from the famous Banyan Tree. Validated parking is available to customers in the lot behind the Center. The Maui Public Transit also has a convenient stop at the back of the Center, so you can make your way over no matter what part of the island you’re on.
For more information, contact McDaniel at 808-661-8748.
Makani Kai Island Grill & Bar can be contacted at 808-661-4900.
Shaka Vibe Bubble Tea & Treats can be contacted at 808-662-3000.
India Express can be contacted at 808-661-1207.
– Ashley Probst (@ashprobsticle)
Photo courtesy of The Wharf Cinema Center PR