The $13-million Yokouchi Pavilion & Courtyard is now starting to rock 'n' roll with food and beverage service at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.
Patrons of the arts have patiently waited for 23 months for its completion, and now the glass, pyramid-shaped beacon is tempting diners' palates and quenching thirsts from its large, state-of-the-art prep kitchen.
"When we're rockin' and poppin' here with big shows, this place will be full-tilt boogie," says Lisa Haole, food and beverage co-director with Luana Argel.
Food and beverage co-directors Luana Argel (left) and Lisa Haole, right, toast to their state-of-the-art facility in Kahului.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"No more gorilla catering! And, no more schlepping!" exclaims Argel. "Look at this place, it's HUGE! We've got six points of sale for liquor, one walk-up counter for meals, one for desserts and for cappuccinos. Upstairs in the new Morgado Hall, we've got two more bars, so people can come right out of the mezzanine and grab a cocktail without having to go downstairs."
"We'll be able to serve more people at a faster pace, while offering way more options," chimes in Haole. "Now we can even make fun blender drinks. It's so-oo cool. We really want everyone to check it out!"
But like a maestro fine-tuning his orchestra with repeated rehearsals, the MACC's President and CEO Art Vento knows that practice makes perfect. So he's been polishing his latest act with training runs.
"Last week, we rolled out the food and beverage service in our new facility in a soft-opening kind of way," Vento says, "in a very low-key manner.
"By the time this weekend rolls around, we'll have gone through the process a couple of times for our upcoming heavy-hitter shows."
Of course, he's talking about the return of Keali'i Reichel over Valentine's Day weekend as well as Chris Daughtry next Friday and Sir Elton John and Damian Marley and Nas later in the month. Starting this evening, families will also flock there for Imago Theatre's "ZooZoo."
"Bigger-than-life animal characters dance and do acrobats across the Castle Theater stage tonight as Imago Theatre presents ZooZoo," says Haole. "Alexanders Famous Fish is serving up miso-grilled mahimahi, teri chicken, fruit and cheese appetizers and a keiki hot dog plates."
Saturday, award-winning kumu hula and recording artist Reichel will return to the MACC for Kukahi 2011, the annual fundraiser for his halau. "Executive Chef Tom Muromoto of Ka'anapali Beach Hotel will delight you with his Taste of Lahaina award-winning dishes," says Haole.
"Seafood Lawalu, huli-huli chicken and veggie enchiladas will start the preshow food off at 5 p.m. So come hungry! For Sunday's Kukahi show, Alexanders Famous Fish will come back to the MACC with grilled kalbi ribs, garlic-herb shrimps, seafood won tons and tropical salad with mango salsa, and more!"
Anuhea will also perform a fundraiser concert for Seabury Hall on Saturday in McCoy Studio and an extra bar will be set up in the McCoy Courtyard.
On Friday, Feb. 18, Chris Daughtry will rock the Castle Theater. "Also rockin' will be Stella Blues Cafe with their seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, vegetarian lasagna with garlic bread, and housemade hummus with pita and veggies," says Argel. "Food and beverage service starts at 5:30 p.m. Join us at our new bars for a 'No Surprise' drink special it will surprise you!!!"
For the biggest shows this month, Sir Elton John will take command of the pavilion stage Feb. 24 and 25 with 5,000 fans per night in the amphitheater. It's one of only about four shows per year outdoors.
Food, beverage and merchandise sales will kick off at 4 p.m. on the Events Lawn. Adults 21 and older must bring ID for wristbands to gain entry.
For special occasions, receptions and business meetings, the Yokouchi Pavilion's upstairs Morgado Hall and its lanai may also be booked.
"I think it will fast become a great option for weddings, meetings, birthdays!" says acclaimed Chef Beverly Gannon of Celebrations Catering. Dana Pastula of Cafe O'Lei fame agrees. "Art Vento and his team have designed and built a first-class facility. Morgado Hall is beautiful with an ocean view and its lanai overlooks the courtyard."
The pavilion's visionary namesake, the late, great Pundy Yokouchi, would surely be pleased with it all.
"The MACC is planning a community celebration, free and open to the public, scheduled for Saturday, March 12, in the afternoon," says Marketing Director Karee Carlucci.
"We invite Maui residents and visitors to stop by during our 'open house' to see the new facilities, enjoy a selection of ono food and beverages, entertainment by local musicians and dancers, and lots of family fun."
For show tickets, call the box office at 242-7469.