Outrigger Hospitality Group announced that Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, led by culinary pioneer and a Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine founder—Chef Peter Merriman, will have a new home as the signature beachfront restaurant at the transformed Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort.
Monkeypod Kitchen is a modern, casual, chef-driven concept founded on a passion for the art of craft. Each item on the menu demonstrates a commitment to high-quality local fare, creative preparations and impeccable execution. The menu highlights Hawai‘i’s bounty with socially conscious ingredients and distinctive parings of upmarket items with upcountry favorites.
Complementing the contemporary design of the new Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, the architecture of Monkeypod Kitchen will evoke an island sense of place to honor and connect guests to the local community. The restaurant will partner with local artists and craftsmen and use local materials to bring the space to life and celebrate its island home.
“The opportunity to partner with Outrigger for a restaurant on this iconic stretch of sand is nothing short of a dream come true,” says Peter Merriman, chairman and owner at Handcrafted Restaurants. “Dining at Monkeypod Kitchen is a culinary exploration rich in culture, quality and fun. We look forward to sharing the bounty of Hawai‘i’s ranchers, farmers and fishers on the beach in Waikīkī and providing a sublime space for kama‘āina and visitors alike to reconnect with friends and family while celebrating the craft of food, drink and merrimaking, with aloha.”
Outrigger recently announced details of the $80 million investment at its flagship Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, a top-to-bottom transformation that unites barefoot luxury with Hawaiian culture. The resort will re-open in late spring with sophisticated property enhancements, including upscale residential-style rooms and suites, chic poolside experiences and a fully reimagined Kani Ka Pila Grille and stage. Monkeypod Kitchen is now building its brand-new restaurant in the 12,000 square-foot beachfront space, which is anticipated to be finished by the end of this year.
Until its completion, Kani Ka Pila Grille will operate as the primary restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and room service.
“The synergy between Outrigger and Monkeypod Kitchen stems from our shared Hawai‘i roots and heartfelt desire to foster authentic guest experiences with world-class hospitality,” says Jeff Wagoner, president and CEO of Outrigger Hospitality Group. “Having Monkeypod Kitchen anchor the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort will complete the transformation and make it a must-visit destination.”
Monkeypod Kitchen’s vibrant atmosphere will welcome guests and deliver a first-rate experience, whether they are looking for a happy-hour cocktail and light pupu or celebrating a special occasion. The handcrafted space, perched on the golden sands of Waikīkī with sweeping ocean and Diamond Head views, will be picturesque with a focus on comfort and a guest experience that is both casual and festive.
Before a guest even peruses the menu, they will immediately be struck by the design, floor layout and décor at Monkeypod Kitchen. The construction integrates traditional Hawaiian building materials such as lava rock, ʻōhiʻa, koa and breeze blocks with modern architecture and lighting design. As lava and the ocean are essential to an island’s creation, fire and water are essential elements in the Monkeypod Kitchen concept. The space is thoughtfully designed for guests to connect with each other and the menu deliberately delivers a deeper connection to the people and places involved in the making of each dish and drink by highlighting the products of Hawai‘i’s ranchers, farmers, fishers, brewers and distillers.
Authenticity is a hallmark of the dining experience at Monkeypod Kitchen, enabling guests to connect deeply to the islands through food, drink and live music. The high-quality, socially conscious ingredients at Monkeypod Kitchen are chosen in such a way as to support the local community and create positive change. Monkeypod Kitchen is committed to taking every step possible to reduce the company’s impact on the environment. Locally sourced, renewable and sustainable products are incorporated at every opportunity.
With Chef Merriman at the helm, the menu at Monkeypod Kitchen never disappoints. The restaurant embodies Peter’s passion for superior ingredients, excellence in preparations and exudes the enchantment innate in the islands. From fresh Kualoa Ranch oysters and Big Island goat cheese bruschetta to Waipoli Farms organic greens and Maui Cattle Co. wood-grilled burger, each dish tells a unique story.
Similarly, the passion for craft carries over to the philosophy surrounding the drinks served at Monkeypod Kitchen. The beverage program at Monkeypod Kitchen is comprehensive, with master mixologists to create unique and flavorful culinary cocktails, a sommelier to hand-pick excellent wines that complement each meal choice and certified beer cicerones to educate even the most seasoned drinker on craft libations. The robust wine list focuses on sustainability, drinkability and fun while all of the draft beers are handcrafted, micro-brews. Even the liquors are small batch, craft spirits. Monkeypod Kitchen’s culinary cocktails highlight house-made sodas, shrubs, syrups and foams as well as fresh-squeezed juices and bright, local garnishes.
The Monkeypod Mai Tai has taken on a life of its own and garnered a cult following. The signature liliko‘i foam earned it the title of best cocktail on Maui two years running. Monkeypod Kitchen sold its one-millionth mai tai last year.
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