Restaurant to Set Sail in September
has a really great attitude about the community,” Johnson said. “I think he’ll give the place the food product it needs to succeed.”
Abell’s commitment to the community doesn’t stop with the decor. He plans to get as much food from Molokai vendors as possible, including shrimp, fish, herbs and fresh produce.
The menu will feature a mix of local favorites, burgers and dishes from Abell’s own background. Growing up in central California, Abell said he has always been around Mexican food and plans to create a Mexican menu to serve once a week.
“I want to keep the prices down so that people can afford to eat here a couple of times a week without having to break the bank,” Abell said.
Meet the Owner
While Abell may be new to Molokai, he is a veteran in the restaurant business. He owned four restaurants in central California and has been a consultant for many others during his career. He won a handful of awards on the mainland, including Best New Bistro and the Modesto Bee’s Favorite Outdoor Dining in California’s central valley. Most of the places he has worked have been more upscale, but Abell said he is excited about the laid back atmosphere at Paddler’s.
The life-long Californian arrived in Molokai in June, just as Paddler’s was closing. He originally came to the island to work as an assistant general manager at Hotel Molokai. Before he even arrived on the island, Abell heard about the restaurant closing and his interest started to grow.
“I heard in May that it was going to shut down,” he said. “Ever since, I have been working on trying to get my hands on it.”
Three months later, he now has the keys in his hand. Abell said he is still getting used to his new home, but plans on sticking around for a long time. So far, Abell said, his biggest challenge has been getting used to saying pupus instead of appetizers.