Here in Hawai‘i, “talking story” is how we communicate. At Lineage, it’s ingrained in every dish on the menu.
I got an opportunity to talk story with Chef Sheldon Simeon just days before his Wailea restaurant’s Oct. 15 opening. He describes it as “the food we eat at our homes surrounded by our families, and those recipes that have been passed down from my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my community.”
Lineage is Simeon’s second solo venture and first full-service concept, with an eclectic menu and dining space inspired by his upbringing (in Hilo). When guests first walk in, they’re welcomed by the stylish bar, touting visual, inventive cocktails. There’s a rolling cart to greet each table with starters like boiled peanuts, One Ton chips and kimchi dip; then a menu with creative culinary offerings connected to Simeon’s familial roots, or lineage.
“Each dish has to have a story behind it,” Simeon says. “We have a lot of inspiration; why not pull from that?”
There are plenty of pūpū options, from cold ginger chicken to squid (or tako) lū‘au to veggie katsu curry. Ingredients are as locally-sourced as possible, using suppliers like Oprah’s farm upcountry and Kumu Farms in Waikapū. The menu features some rice and noodle dishes, plus share plates like crispy pata (pork hock) and huli huli chicken. Simeon shares an example of a special item from generations back.
“On the menu, we have our Simeon family pork & peas, which is recipe my dad learned from his uncle and passed it down to us,” Simeon says. “Even five years ago, I wouldn’t have had the guts to put something on the menu like that, but it is exactly how my family prepares it.”
Lineage is located at The Shops at Wailea, next to Island Gourmet Markets. The cozy space is primarily first-come, first-serve, open from 5 to 10 p.m. Welcoming both visitors and locals, Lineage offers a 25% kama‘āina discount.
With a motto of “Eat. Drink. Talk Story,” talented chefs clearly put a lot of care, time and quality into the food; expert mixologists cleverly craft the cocktails; and knowledgeable servers greet guests with genuine warmth and aloha.
For the Top Chef finalist and longtime Maui chef, this concept is personal.
“I get seriously choked up when I explain everything; I’m super proud to be able to do that and not shy away from it,” says Simeon. “We’re celebrating our community, we’re celebrating the families, and we want everyone to experience that.”