Buffett's to remain in Waikiki
Good news for fans of Jimmy Buffett's at the Beachcomber — and supporters of live music in Waikiki — arrived Tuesday when landlord Outrigger Enterprises Group announced the restaurant had found new owners and secured a new lease.
Instead of closing for good on Aug. 31, as was first reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in June, the restaurant will now close for one week “while the space and menu undergo a refresh,” according to a release.
The new owners are Handcrafted Restaurants LLC, better known as the hui behind Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman. Chef Peter Merriman, one of the originators of Hawaii's farm-to-table movement and leaders in Pacific Rim Cuisine since the 1990s, and business partner Bill Terry opened the first Monkeypod Kitchen in Maui's Wailea Resort in 2011, followed by another location at Ko Olina on Oahu in 2013. The restaurant will be leased to Handcrafted Restaurants subsidiary JB Waikiki LLC.
"We are honored to carry on Jimmy Buffett's great operation in Waikiki and look forward to expanding on its popularity with a few changes to the facilities and new additions to the menu that highlight Hawaii local flavors," Terry said. "We expect a quick and easy transition."
In addition to the food and drink, the announcement means at least a few local musicians will hopefully keep their regular gigs at the restaurant. In honor of its rock star namesake, Jimmy Buffett's at the Beachcomber always offered a variety of live entertainment through the week, which is becoming more of a rarity in Waikiki than some might realize.
Luckily, it appears Handcrafted Restaurants also believes in supporting local musicians, as Monkeypod Kitchen at Ko Olina has consistently booked live music since it opened. Let's hope the new management in Waikiki does the same thing.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.