Acclaimed Honolulu Chef and Restaurateur Ed Kenney Opens First Restaurant in WaikikiMahina & Sun’s Open for Poolside Lunch and Dinner in the New Artist-Driven Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
HONOLULU, HAWAII (April 29, 2016) – Credited as one of the pioneers of the field-to-fork movement in Hawaii with the opening of his flagship restaurant Town in 2005, Oahu-born chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney debuts his first Waikiki venture, Mahina & Sun’s. Located in Honolulu’s new artist-driven hotel Surfjack Hotel & Swim, Mahina & Sun’s is the newest sibling joining Kenney’s three acclaimed Kaimuki restaurants — Mud Hen Water, Kaimuki Superette and Town. A four-time James Beard award semifinalist, Kenney’s casual style and approachable food pairs perfectly with Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s vintage beach culture vibe.
“It’s like blue jeans and a t-shirt — simple, yet elevated home cooking with a focus on local, organic produce and sustainable seafood,” said Kenney. “I seek to reconnect people to the food they eat — and those they eat with.” Locavores will enjoy the menu spotlighting Hawaii’s seasonal bounty. Kenney’s mantra “local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always,” is honored through dishes including the “Ahi Palaha (Albacore Tuna) with 12-grain salad, pickled mushroom and limu (seaweed) salsa verde for $26 and the Grilled He’e (octopus) & Watercress Salad with Twin Bridge potatoes, green olive, ricotta, sesame and dill for $16. Signature dishes such as Town’s Aku (skipjack tuna) Tartare with risotto, for $13; and the Kuahiwi Ranch Burger for $18, pay homage to Kenney’s fan favorites.
Unique to the Waikiki restaurant is Mahina’s Family Feast featuring a two- to three-pound whole opakapaka (pink snapper) served family-style with three sauces and an array of side dishes including a dozen Kualoa Ranch oysters, pohole (fern) salad with tomato and crispy opae, roasted MA’O Organic Farms roots with inamona, buttered ulu with chili pepper water aioli, house pickles, hapa rice, fried boiled peanuts and dessert (market price).
Lunch and evening pupu are offered poolside at The Swim Club to be enjoyed along with live entertainment including DJs spinning vinyl, filmmaker screenings, creative workshops and conversations with local and visiting artists, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, architects, professors and chefs. Books and board games are also available at The Swim Club’s mini-library. Lunch options include poke bowls, salads, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. A select menu of Kenney’s cuisine will be offered for inroom dining for hotel guests.
“Ed Kenney’s menu and restaurant concepts mirror what The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is all about highlighting our local artisans, collaborators, farmers and purveyors, and giving them a space to shine and tell their story,” said Casea Collins-Wright, Director of Experience at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.
“Hawaii continues to inspire and influence American pop-culture. Just look at all the Hawaiian-inspired restaurants and bars popping up in major foodie cities like San Francisco and New York, and how many rock stars play the ukulele. Through Mahina & Sun’s and The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, we want to provide more than just another new hotel and restaurant, but a venue and a platform for authentic Hawaii voices and creatives to share their work.”
The restaurant’s craft bar program was curated by Hawaii mixologist Alicia Yamachika and features small production local and organic spirits and seasonal ingredient-driven cocktails. Signature drinks include the Peahi Sour with Lillet Blanc, Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice, Barspoon Rose Flower Water and egg white; and the Haleiwa Harbor—Kō Hana Rum Agricole-Pakawele, Smith & Cross Jamaican Navy Strength Rum, Cocchi Americano, lime juice, coconut milk, lemongrass syrup, Fever Tree Tonic Water and a dash of Hawaii Bitters Co.’s Tahitian Lime Bitters.
More than just a backdrop to the food, the restaurant décor was carefully curated by The Vanguard Theory, and features more than a dozen local artists and collaborators that crafted custom pieces inspired by the hotel’s “Mid-Century Aloha” or “Tropical Modern” feel. Most of the collaborators are headquartered in Honolulu and instrumental in shaping Hawaii’s evolving urban culture.
“We wanted to create a space that connected the guest in an authentic way,” said Michelle Jaime, cofounder and design director of The Vanguard Theory. “All of our local artists and collaborators have helped us shape a new Hawaiian story to share with tourists and locals alike.”
Grabbing inspiration from the year the hotel was built, 1959, the décor blends vintage textiles with vibrant, contemporary art and finishes. Custom shaka-print wallpaper by Andrew Mau lines the restaurant interior providing a foundation for sculptural, hand-cut wooden orb lamps by Mark Chai. Original artwork from legacy brand Tori Richards, founded in Honolulu in 1956 — right before the opening of the original property — was used for the banquette upholstery. Pivoting windows at the bar and grill were inspired by a manapua truck, predating the current food truck trend as a neighborhood snack truck known for selling pork buns, fried noodles, candy and more in Hawaii during the 70’s and 80’s. The open air restaurant also features outdoor seating overlooking the pool with hand-painted benches by Jeffrey Gress and a living fern installation by Paiko, Honolulu’s botanical boutique. A personal piece by Kamea Hadar is a portrait of Ed Kenney’s mom, a legendary hula dancer, which hangs above the hostess stand.
Inspired by Hawaii’s host Hawaiian culture, retro 60’s surf culture and Oahu’s urban influences, the restaurant and hotel offer a space and accommodationsfor guests who avoid the hype of big-name brands and prefer counterculture to mainstream. Mahina & Sun’s will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. To make a reservation, call (808) 924-5810.
Media Contacts Theresa van Greunen, Director of Public Relations and Promotions, (808) 202-5756, firstname.lastname@example.org Krislyn Hashimoto, Stryker Weiner & Yokota PR, (808)237-2987, email@example.com