Chef Keoni Regidor was born and raised on the Big Island, grew up in Honoka‘a and attended culinary school in Hilo and in Honolulu at Kapi‘olani Community College. His years of training and experience with Chef Peter Merriman include opening of Merriman’s Market Café in the Kings’ Shops.
Keoni’s first job in the industry was peeling shrimp at Bubba Gump’s, along with lifetime friend and brother-in-law Brandon Lee. Years later, after Brandon came home to raise his family, following a successful stint in sales for Mercedes-Benz, the two friends decided to open restaurants together.
Their reason was simple. And it goes back to their roots. Why do most restaurants serve their guests food that comes from where they come from? Why not prepare the luscious, freshest fish and farm produce, the just-picked fruits from trees in the region, and beef from cows raised on Big Island grass?
At one time, in generations past, Hawai‘i Island adapted to being 100% sustainable. In a unique and efficient system defined by land divisions called ahapua‘a, folks who lived in the mountains traded hardwoods and other products with folks who lived near the ocean and had aquaculture in place. Farmers in fresh water regions grew taro and vegetables to trade with fishermen and salt-makers, and so on. This balanced and sustainable society produced excess, and the population was able to take time off every year—for the feasting, games and celebration of the Makahiki.
Today, Hawai‘i imports 90% of its food. In spite of a rising “eat local” movement, most of Hawaii’s visitors are eating food from where they come from, instead of food from here on the Island. Brandon and Keoni have worked hard to try and source everything Napua needs from within the Honoka’a to Mauna Lani area. In other words, what they see along their drive to work.
We think you’ll taste the difference. Enjoy ~ bon appétit ~ itadakimasu ~ aloha!