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Slow-cooked Kalua Pork Sliders and Tuna Poke Bowls are among the menu items at the newly opened Maui Chop House in Rocky Point.
The Hawaiian-inspired restaurant opened in the former Beers, Burgers, Desserts space earlier this month with a bright aesthetic and island vibes. Owner John Louis is a Long Island restaurant veteran with more than 20 years experience in the industry. He most recently was general manager at The Country Corner in East Setauket, where he worked along side chef George Prakas, who joined him to helm the kitchen at Maui Chop House.
Louis’ family roots in Hawaii inspired the theme and cuisine.
“My father’s side of the family came to the United States via Hawaii in 1905,” he said. “I always felt a connection to Hawaii. My father used to pull us aside and play the ukulele for us and cook traditional Hawaiian dishes for the family. He passed away when I was 17, so this is an homage to him.”
Louis took over the 31,000-square-foot restaurant space in December when BBDs vacated the location. The popular gastropub opened a location at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas last year and plans to open a Manhattan outpost by the end of 2019.
BBDs owner-chef Ralph Perrazzo told Louis in the fall that the Rocky Point storefront would be available in the winter — the timing was perfect for Louis who had been searching for the right location for months.
“Chef and I started looking for a space back in February ,” Louis said. “The owner of BBDs started coming into Country Corner at that time and called me one day and said, ‘Are you ready for your own place?’ We closed on December 10 and here we are a month later after a total renovation and we’re ready to roll.”
Guests can expect a bright “cruise” like ambience from Maui Chop House. A teal floor and tiki wood accents give the family-friendly restaurant a modern and relaxed vibe.
“A lot of people asked if we were going to do a dark, tiki type of feel, but that is just not who I am,” Louis said. “A dark theme was never what we wanted. We wanted a family-friendly place where everything is upbeat and people can have fun. Kind of a party atmosphere.”
The menu features Hawaiian and Asian inspired dishes such as Kalua Pork Nachos made with slow cooked pulled pork and Mahi Mahi with spicy avocado salsa. Those familiar with the old BBDs can rest assured that its wood-fired stove will be put to good use at the Maui Chop House. Louis said it would be used to sear the restaurant’s steaks.
Expect traditional desserts such as the Haupia, coconut milk custard with vanilla and pineapple, and Hawaiian Sweet Rolls stuffed and glazed with pineapple and flaked coconut butter.
The restaurant also boasts an extensive 20-tap beer selection and a sommelier curated wine list as well as signature cocktails, including the Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian and Lava Flow.
Maui Chop House is open Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Sunday from noon to midnight. Happy hour is daily from 5 to 7 p.m.
Maui Chop House is located at 49 Route 25A in Rocky Point. Visit them at mauichophouse.com.