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PICS: Monkeypod Kitchen opens on Oahu
BY NADINE KAM / firstname.lastname@example.org
Chef Peter Merriman and his business partner Bill Terry celebrated the opening of Monkeypod Kitchen at Ko Olina with a blessing and benefit party on Friday, Feb. 1.
While the food was complimentary, the money collected for drink purchases went to Aloha United Way. The room was packed with foodies, restaurateurs and farmers eager to see Merriman’s newest project.
Merriman addressed the crowd at one point to explain the meaning behind the restaurant’s name. The first Monkeypod Kitchen opened in Wailea, Maui, and was named after the monkeypod tree — a non-native species that nevertheless thrives in Hawaii, just as he has. (Merriman is a transplant from Pennsylvania who arrived on Hawaii island in 1983 and went on to become a leader in the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement.)
Monkeypod trees also fix nitrogen in the soil, so it’s good for both the land and sustainability, and is versatile as a wood used prominently for craft. As an artisan in the kitchen, Merriman said he could identify with that as well.
The restaurant covers two stories at Ko Olina Station, 92-1046 Olani St., in Kapolei, and is a welcome addition to the resort community, where there are few stylish places to hang out. The Monkeypod Kitchen bar is huge — no doubt in anticipation of great happy hour business, when drink specials include $6 Ocean Vodka cocktails, $6 white and red wines by the glass and $4.75 drafts for beers originally $9 or less, and $7 for those more than $9.
Food specials include 50 percent off most appetizers, and $9 pizzas (except the lobster-topped Bourgeois).