Deal Off for Tante’s and Hotel

Tante’s Island Cuisine’s contract with Hotel Molokai has been called off. Tante’s owner Tante Urban and Hotel Molokai Manger Micheal Drew both confirmed the Maui-based company will no longer be responsible for management of the hotel’s bar and restaurant, though neither would give a reason. Both called it a “mutual agreement.”

Tante’s at Hotel Molokai had been operating the bar and offering a small grill menu while the hotel’s kitchen is being rebuilt after a fire destroyed it two years ago.

Management deal or not, Drew said kitchen construction is still on schedule to be completed in early 2015.

“We hope to open doors to the public on or before Valentine’s Day,” Drew confirmed.

In April, Tante’s Island Cuisine, a family operated restaurant on Maui, was awarded a management contract from Hotel Molokai and officially took over operation of the former Hula Shores Bar. They hired local staff and anticipated bringing good service and a diverse menu to Molokai once the kitchen was rebuilt. But recently, with the kitchen nearing completion, the partnership was called off.

“It’s been a tough business,” said Urban. “We agreed that it’s better if we separate.”

Drew said the hotel does not have an outside operator lined up for the new restaurant and is looking for options. Drew said his personal expertise is in the hotel business rather than restaurant management. However, he said at this point Hotel Molokai is “moving forward as if we are going to operate it.”

“We want this restaurant to be number one eatery on Molokai,” he said.

In the meantime, the bar is open seven days a week from 3 to 10 p.m., though Drew said he has decided not to continue any bar-side food operation until the new kitchen is open.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to serving the community. We are getting closer,” said Drew.

He estimates the restaurant opening to be in January or February. Check Hotel Molokai’s Facebook page for updates on the progress.