Merriman's Kapalua restaurant in Maui shares culture of kindness through rich culinary history

ByJanel Andronico Localish logo
Friday, April 26, 2024
Merriman's Kapalua restaurant in Maui shares culture of kindness
Aloha spirit flows through every aspect of this Maui restaurant's history.

MAUI, Hawaii -- Lead by culinary pioneer Peter Merriman, Merriman's Restaurant showcases island grown and harvested foods with aloha spirit at the forefront.

"I think aloha spirit is just respect, it's that everybody is equal," said Peter Merriman, the owner of Merriman's Kapalua. "Aloha is love and so that's the love we have for one another."

He added, "There's a lot of places that have beautiful beaches, right? Hawaii has beautiful beaches, beautiful weather, and beautiful people."

Peter Merriman has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original "locavore," Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii's farmers, ranchers, and fishermen.

"About 1986, we started working with farmers, and then in 1988, I opened my own restaurant on the Big Island of Hawaii in Waimea, it's called Merriman's," shared Merriman.

Peter's restaurants reflect the flavors of Hawaii's multiculturalism.

"I started to grow stuff meant for consumption here in Hawaii, just for the flavor," expressed Merriman. "As we started to do that, then we started realizing, 'Oh my goodness, not only is this really great tasting food, but also it's good for the economy.'"

Fast forward to the present day, Merriman's survived the devastating Lahaina wildfires and started helping the community immediately.

"You know that you got a restaurant full of food and no electricity, right so that food's not going to last. And then, you're starting to hear that there's a lot of hungry people out there that don't have any place to eat," recalled Merriman.

"Our people just put a grill in a parking lot and started grilling off the food and handing it out to people. And we were doing up to 2,000 meals a day," he added.

The community work sparked a new motto for the restaurant: "It's nice to be nice."

"To be able to help your community is a true healing process for so many people. And I'm so proud of our people here, because they worked hard every single day, to feed the community," said Merriman.

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