Maui restaurant destroyed in Lahaina wildfire to reopen at new location in Kīhei
Cool Cat Café at the Wharf Cinema Center Shops in West Maui was destroyed by the August wildfire in Lahaina. Rising from the aftermath, the restaurant is poised to open for lunch and dinner at the Kukui Mall in Kīhei in early 2024.
Cool Cat Café will take over the space currently occupied by Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar, which will centralize its Maui operations at its existing Kapalua location.
“This relocation not only symbolizes a powerful comeback for a beloved community establishment but also showcases a signiﬁcant upgrade in Kukui Mall’s dining portfolio, with a tenant oﬀering aﬀordable, fast casual lunch and dinner options,” according to a joint news release.
In the aftermath of the Lahaina ﬁres, more than 50% of Cool Cat Café’s staﬀ were displaced, with tragic reports indicating the loss of one team member, according to the release.
Amidst the turmoil, the resilient spirit of the Cool Cat Café team became evident as they continuously supported and fed the community.
“The heart of our institution has always been our people and the community we serve. Though the ﬁres disrupted our physical space, it never dampened our spirit,” said Sean Corpuel, founder of Cool Cat Café.
“The shared vision of Cool Cat Café and Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar aims to bolster the community, oﬀering increased employment opportunities, serving both locals and visitors, and ensuring business continuity. This synergy between both establishments is a testament to Maui’s resilience and collective ambition,” according to the release.
Brokering the deal for Cool Cat Café’s new location at Kukui Mall was Coldwell Banker Commercial. “The return of Cool Cat Café is not just about business. It’s about reviving a community’s heart, ensuring that its pulse remains strong. As a local Maui business also, we at Coldwell Banker Commercial are elated to have played a role in this success story,” said Chris Millen, principal broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial.
With the healing process now underway, the team at Cool Cat Café is ﬁlled with gratitude and enthusiasm. The community’s support has been instrumental in their journey back, and owners say they are eager to roll up their sleeves, cook up their favorite dishes, and continue serving the Maui community.