Rock & Brews Grand Opening Announced, Despite Permit Appeal
By Wendy Osher
The Rock & Brews restaurant, proposed for development in Pāʻia, announced a planned grand opening event in January, despite a challenge to the project’s permits.
The restaurant says KISS rock stars Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who are co-founding partners in the business, have a two-day opening celebration planned for Jan. 25 and 26, with a special VIP package available at the Fairmont Kea Lani.
“Shannon and I just renewed our wedding vows on Maui, and we are very excited and privileged to bring our family-friendly restaurant to Pāʻia,” said Simmons in a company announcement. “Maui has long been a favorite vacation spot for both my family and Paul’s family, and this opening is particularly exciting for us,” he said.
According to a company announcement, the opening event will pay tribute to both Wounded Warrior Project and the Pāʻia Youth Center.
A luncheon will be held on Jan. 26 for wounded warriors, returning vets and active military; and an evening celebration will welcome local VIPs, KISS fans from around the world, and music industry notables benefiting the Pāʻia Youth Center. Both events will be hosted by Simmons and Stanley.
The non-profit group, Maui Tomorrow, is among the opponents that have expressed concerns about preserving the character of Pāʻia town, issues surrounding permit requirements, and potential impacts on the surrounding community. Conversely, supporters maintain that the restaurant would add diversity to the area, contribute to the town’s economy, and provide options for customers.
Under the appeal filed by Maui Tomorrow, the group claims that the restaurant building was undervalued.
“By putting the cost of the project below $500,000,” Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said, the business, “avoids any public participation,” that would have been required under a more stringent Special Management Area Permit designation.
In a phone interview this morning, Bowie said, “We are perplexed and disappointed,” that it has “taken so long” to get a hearing for an appeal on the calendar, noting that the group’s appeal was filed in July.
According to Bowie, Maui Tomorrow received a notice two days ago that the Planning Commission has scheduled a pre-hearing on Dec. 10. Meantime, she said, “construction has been moving along all these months.”
“Maui Tomorrow got involved because there was great community concern that it could possible change the character of one of our last really authentic small towns,” said Bowie. “Through public testimony, they could have put in mitigations in place that could have made for a better project,” she said.
To do so after the fact, she said, creates a disadvantage for both the community and those invested in the restaurant.
In addition to Stanley and Simmons, other co-founding partners, restaurateur-hotelier Michael Zislis and concert and merchandising veterans Dave and Dell Furano have teamed up with longtime Maui residents Mark and Chrystie Blietz for the opening event. Company representatives say the Blietz’s will own and operate the Pāʻia location.
“Our goal is to become a popular gathering spot for residents of Pāʻia and surrounding communities, and a welcoming respite for visitors enjoying the beautiful Hāna Highway scenic drive,” said Mark Blietz in a company press release.
“We are delighted to introduce Rock & Brews Pāʻia and welcome families in our friendly, energized environment,” he said.
Rock & Brews Pāʻia was designed by Maui architect Jim Niess of Maui Architectural Group, with Maui artist Al Lagunero serving as a consultant on Hawaiian culture and art.
The company says the restaurant features a “family-friendly rock concert-like environment” that includes concert lighting, multiple screens presenting concert videos, hand-painted murals of rock artists, album and tour art, as well as art by local artists and “art that salutes Hawaiian history and culture.”
According to the announcement, “The ʻohana restaurant will pay tribute to the familial warmth and character that is synonymous with Pāʻia, while respecting the vibrant Rock & Brews brand look and feel. It will feature Rock & Brews’ popular casual American comfort food, as well as local favorites, and a full bar, including Pāʻia’s largest selection of craft beers.”
“It is our goal to always offer local favorites on our menus,” said Stanley in the announcement. “In Pāʻia, we will offer a number of popular Hawaiian dishes, local craft beers and signature tropical cocktails,” he said.
As part of the opening festivities, there will be a KISS Rock & Roll VIP Package at The Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, offered to guests attending the opening.
According to the announcement, the package includes: a one-bedroom suite at The Fairmont Kea Lani; access to the Willow Stream Spa VIP grand opening party, with meet and greet and photo opportunities with Simmons and Stanley, as well as a black & white manicure station, a rock & roll red lipstick station, hot rock neck massages, rock & roll sushi rolls from the resort’s Kō restaurant, and more), two tickets to the Rock & Brews opening celebration on Sunday, Jan. 26 (including red carpet photo opportunities; and two Rock & Brews Pāʻia t-shirts).
The three-day package is valid Jan. 24-27, 2014, and is priced at $349 per night, plus tax and resort fees.
Rock & Brews Pāʻia is located at 120 Hāna Highway in Pāʻia.