A Slice of Life at Manoli’s Pizza Company

May 20, 2016, 10:15 AM HST · Updated May 20, 10:15 AM
Kiaora Bohlool · 0 Comments
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Prime your appetite, pick your restaurant and reserve a table: Restaurant Week Wailea kicks off on Sunday, May 22 for the seventh year in a row.

The community’s elite chefs will craft prix fixe menus for as low as $29, $39 and $49 per person, depending on the restaurant. (Prices don’t include beverages, tax or gratuity.) Wine pairings are also available at special prices during the promotion, which lasts through Saturday, May 28.

Each participating restaurant makes a contribution to the Maui Food Bank for every prix fixe entrée sold during Restaurant Week Wailea.

“This culinary celebration has raised over $70,000 dollars for the Maui Food Bank and we look forward to helping again this year,” says Bud Pikrone, General Manager of Wailea Community Association, which puts on the promotion every year.

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Manoli’s Pizza Company is among the 17 restaurants taking part this year. Restauranteur Aaron Placourakis opened Manoli’s about three years ago on Wailea Ike Drive, naming it after both his father and youngest son.

Placourakis, who serves as President and CEO of Tri-Star Restaurant Group, is no stranger to the dining realm. He says working in restaurants during college at UCLA helped “set the table” for his future career.

“It dawned on me that this is the perfect industry for my particular disposition,” he explains. “You’re being able to be creative, you’re teaching, you’re working with the public, you’re having a business plan, you’re designing; it’s so multifaceted. And for me, I’m one of those who need to do different things, so it fit my personality perfectly.”

After moving to Hawai’i in 1985 as regional director of a restaurant group, Placourakis worked his way up, eventually bought out the company and became a force in Maui’s dining scene.

“First one in Maui was back in ’97, ’98; we opened Nick’s Fishmarket. Then a couple years later, Sarento’s on the Beach, then Son’z Steakhouse at the Hyatt we’ve had for 11 years, and this is the baby, Manoli’s,” explains Placourakis, who also oversees Sarento’s Top of the “I” in Waikiki as part of the Tri-Star Restaurant Group.

The family of restaurants was recognized with multiple ‘Aipono awards this year. Nick’s Fishmarket Maui won Gold for Best Service and Silver for Best Wine List. Son’z Steakhouse won Silver for Best Steak and Sarento’s on the Beach earned a Silver award for Most Romantic Setting.

Placourakis himself was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, not only for his role in Maui’s fine dining realm for nearly 20 years, but also for his impact on the community and support of local employees, companies and organizations.

One example is, of course, the Maui Food Bank via Restaurant Week Wailea. But you can find other, tangible signs of Placourakis’ spirit of support just by looking around Manoli’s, where the bar stools are sporting personalized plaques. They came from a spontaneous auction idea while Manoli’s was hosting a fundraiser for Montessori Hale O Keiki in Kīhei.

“Someone said, ’Hey we ought to auction off the bar stools,’ so I said, ‘Sure!’ So, I got up and I think we charged $250 and we sold 60 of ‘em in like 10 minutes,” Placourakis remembers.

Manoli’s large bar, which has served as a popular gathering place throughout the space’s various incarnations over the decades, boasts two happy hours per day: 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m to close, serving both drinks and food until midnight. The restaurant at 100 Wailea Ike Drive offers open-air dining, easy access and free parking.

Tri-Star’s Corporate Executive Chef Geno Sarmiento has proven his leadership with the restaurant group over the last 24 years or so, serving in many back-of-the-house roles, from pantry cook to lead line cook to sous chef to executive chef.

“We pride ourselves in making pretty much everything in-house,” says Sarmiento. “Anytime we can get our hands on local products, we’ll use it.”

Sarmiento says Manoli’s features a comfortable vibe with “room for everyone” and a menu that includes a range of starters and salads, along with pasta and pizzas (including gluten-free) on whole-wheat crust.

“We wanted to do pizza, but I thought maybe a whole-wheat, thin dough; great, unique ingredients,” says Placourakis, “then back it up with pasta, salads, and then more of a lunch fare too; from hummus to souvlaki to scampi to great salads.”

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    SWIPE LEFT OR RIGHT
    Pizza on whole-wheat crust at Manoli's.

    Pizza on whole-wheat crust at Manoli’s. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Custom plaques on the bar stool's at Manoli's Pizza Company in Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Custom plaques on the bar stool’s at Manoli’s Pizza Company in Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Tri-Star Restaurant Group President & CEO Aaron Placourakis. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Tri-Star Restaurant Group President & CEO Aaron Placourakis. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    The fully-loaded "Plack Salad" on Manoli's menu. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    The fully-loaded “Plack Salad” on Manoli’s menu. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Wine at Manoli's bar in Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Wine at Manoli’s bar in Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Corporate Executive Chef Geno Sarmiento with Tri-Star Restaurant Group. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Corporate Executive Chef Geno Sarmiento with Tri-Star Restaurant Group. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Shrimp scampi, available during Restaurant Week Wailea on a $29 prix fixe menu. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Shrimp scampi, available during Restaurant Week Wailea on a $29 prix fixe menu. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Chicken Picatta at Manoli's Pizza Company, part of a $29 three-course meal available during Restaurant Week Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Chicken Picatta at Manoli’s Pizza Company, part of a $29 three-course meal available during Restaurant Week Wailea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Cocktails at Manoli's Pizza Company, which offers two happy hours daily. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Cocktails at Manoli’s Pizza Company, which offers two happy hours daily. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Manoli’s provides plenty of options for its three-course menu during Restaurant Week Wailea, which costs $29 per person:

    Traditional Greek Salad or Caesar Salad or House Salad

    Shrimp Scampi (tiger shrimp, mushrooms, Maui onion, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, lemon, white wine, fettuccini)
    or Spaghetti & Meatballs (spaghetti in Pomodoro sauce, homemade meatballs) or Chicken Picatta (free range chicken breast, homemade goat cheese gnocchi, Kula Meyer lemon, butter, garlic, capers)
    or Shrimp Pesto Personal Pizza (tiger prawns, baby spinach, mushrooms, arugula-basil pesto, marscapone-bechamel, Parmigiano-Reggiano) or Mediterranean Personal Pizza (spinach, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta, red onions, pepperoncini, Pomodoro, mozzarella)

    Tiramisu

    A total of 17 eateries are taking part in Restaurant Week Wailea over the seven nights. Here is the complete list:

    Capische?* (Hotel Wailea) (808) 879-2224
    DUO Steak and Seafood* (Four Seasons) (808) 874-8000
    Fabiani’s Wailea* (Wailea Gateway Center) (808) 874-1234
    Gannon’s* (Wailea Gold & Emerald Course) (808) 875-8080
    Humuhumunukunukuapua’a* (Grand Wailea) (800) 888-6100
    Ka’ana Kitchen* (Andaz Maui Wailea Resort) (808) 573-1234
    Kō * (Fairmont Kea Lani) (808) 875-2201
    Longhi’s* (The Shops at Wailea) (808) 891-8883
    Manoli’s Pizza Company* (Wailea Blue Course) (808) 874-7499
    Matteo’s Osteria* (Wailea Town Center) (808)875-9394
    Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman* (Wailea Gateway) (808) 891-2322
    Morimoto Maui*(Andaz Maui Wailea Resort) (808)573-1234
    Mulligan’s on the Blue* (Wailea Blue Course) (808) 874-1131
    Nick’s Fishmarket Maui* (Fairmont Kea Lani) (808) 879-7224
    Pita Paradise Bistro Wailea (Wailea Gateway Center) (808) 879-7177
    Ruth’s Chris Steak House* (The Shops at Wailea) (808) 874-8880
    Tommy Bahama* (The Shops at Wailea) (808) 875-9983

    Or visit Open Table to book reservations with participating restaurants (*)

    Just know, the prix fixe menus are not valid with any other discounts, coupons or promotions being offered at participating restaurants. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. No tickets, passes or coupons needed ~ simply make your reservations and experience a great deal on Wailea meal to benefit a local cause!

    For more details and printable menus, visit here.

    Kiaora Bohlool
    Kiaora Bohlool has been a journalist since 1998. With chefs in her family, she has a lifelong appreciation for food...

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