SALT eateries prep for prime time
At some 8,000 square feet, Moku Kitchen by Peter Merriman will be the largest tenant in Kakaako's SALT development when the restaurant opens in October. Executive Chef Todd Constantino and General Manager Mason Hundhausen, as well as a number of other employees, will be making the trek from Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko Olina to open the new restaurant, to ensure a smooth opening, according to Sara Hill, vice president of development and general counsel for parent company Handcrafted Restaurants.
Some menu items will be familiar to Monkeypod Kitchen devotees, while Moku Kitchen also will offer its own signature dishes cooked in a rotisserie oven. Constantino said the oven and the dishes that emerge from it will give the restaurant a point of differentiation from other restaurants.
To see a listing of SALT tenants that are preparing to open and when, as well as places that are open and operating, keep reading.
Village Bottle & Tasting Shop, set to open in early August, is a project by Star-Advertiser beer industry writer Tim Golden and his business partner Daryn Ogino. The "beer cafe," as Golden calls it, will offer a rotating selection of beers and wines on tap, as well as savory pies and other baked goods by HI Pie owner and baker Casey Burns (shown below). Village is "Hawaii's first bottle shop and tasting room," Golden says, as it also is a retail shop that will specialize in beers. The business isn't aiming to offer the largest beer selection, "just, the best," Golden said. A certified cicerone, like a sommelier is for wines, Golden and Ogino plan to curate the shop's selection and offer "beer geeks" and beer noobs, or those new to brews, "a really good experience," he said.
Customers who chose to buy a bottle can enjoy it on-premises for a corkage fee, from $2 to $4, depending on the bottle size, "and we'll give you glasses," for sharing with friends, perhaps at the 19-foot communal table, while smartphone and laptop users can avail themselves of the free WiFi.
"We want people to feel comfortable here, even if it's just for 20 minutes," Golden said.
Given his longstanding relationships with local brewers, the shop will feature local beers, both on tap and bottled for sale. "Hawaii's (beer) scene is strong and vibrant, and we want to help that thrive," said Golden.
Burns' baked goods also can be found at the four Island Vintage Coffee shops on Oahu, and soon, at Mr. Tea Cafe. One of its two locations is across from Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room.
Mr. Tea Cafe has become a popular stop among Pokemon GO players, as he offers a discount for active players. Owner George Huang's shops in Kakaako, and at 909 Kapiolani Blvd., specialize in boba teas, smoothies, and other refreshing treats. The SALT location has been open two months, while the Kapiolani Boulevard shop has been open about two years, he said.
Set to open in early August, 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast & Bake Shop is a modern, gleaming mom-and-pop run by former coffee wholesalers Stephen and Tracey Seta. You will not find a countertop espresso machine. Instead, the equipment is built into the counter providing a more open feeling between customers, the barista, and the kitchen in back. Traditional coffee, fancier coffees such as espressos, lattes and the like, as well as still, cold-brews and nitro brews also will be available. The shop's beverage-making technology also will enable customers to order sparkling juices and teas, said Tracey Seta. As for the business name, 9Bar refers to "the pressure required to extract the perfect espresso shot," Stephen Seta said.
Photography buffs may already be familiar with Treehouse's Ward Avenue location, above Kramer's Big & Tall shop. It will be moving to the second floor of SALT, set to open by the end of the year. It will be located near the elevators, said employee Gabrielle Sanehira. The photography shop sells vintage cameras, film, and other accoutrements for photogs and hobbyists who like to keep it old-school.
Open, or preparing to open at SALT:
• ARVO - cafe and lunch spot, inside Paiko - open and operating.
• Bevy - a bar and restaurant, often with live entertainment - open and operating.
• Hank's Haute Dogs - gourmet hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef sandwiches and more - open and operating.
• Highway Inn - Hawaiian food and other local favorites - open and operating.
• Juic'd Life - cold-pressed juices - open and operating.
• Lanikai Juice - juices, smoothies, bowls, more - open and operating.
• Lonohana Chocolate - a Manoa-based maker of estate-grown chocolates - opening date pending.
• Moku Kitchen - a new restaurant concept by chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman - opening in October.
• Morning Brew - a Kailua favorite coffee shop and restaurant - opening in the fall.
• Mr. Tea Cafe - specializing in boba teas, smoothies and other refreshments - open and operating.
• 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast and Bake Shop - specialty coffees, teas, all-day breakfast and baked goods - opening early August.
• Orange Theory Fitness - a gym and health studio - opening in the fall.
• Paiko - botanical boutique - open and operating.
• Sprint - mobile communications, other services - open and operating.
• Starbucks - specialty coffees, meals, baked goods and other snacks - open and operating.
• The Boiling Crab - seafood restaurant, think brown paper on the tables. Its first location in Hawaii - to open first quarter of 2017.
• Treehouse - cameras, vintage cameras, film, and other photography needs - opening by the end of the year.