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‘Toes in the Sand’ Beach Vibe

Major Renovation Completed at Lava Lava Beach Club

Lava Lava Beach Club has long been the go-to spot in Waikoloa Beach Resort for locals and visitors seeking a laidback meal or cocktail at Anaeho`omalu Bay. It’s a rare place where you can take off your shoes and enjoy a true “toes in the sand” experience.

Once seated at any of the ocean view tables, gentle trade winds and rhythmic waves on the rocks are just a stone’s throw away. Green Hawaiian sea turtles, known as honu, can often be spotted swimming offshore. In the early evening, the stunning

Anaeho`omalu Bay sunsets can be seen from every seat in the house, and it’s always the perfect locale for pulling out the camera and trying to catch the “green flash.”

This past July, an extensive renovation was completed at Lava Lava Beach Club that added even more capacity to the popular spot.

“After several years of operation, we realized that we were ‘underbuilt’ for the volume of business we had,” explains Lava Lava Beach Club’s co-owner Scott Dodd. “So, we started the process of planning, designing and permitting. We built for the future and our growth.”

Additional seats have been added along the water’s edge, and the outdoor kitchen has been enlarged, allowing staff to improve service. In the lawn area adjacent to the restaurant’s entrance, a new bar, hostess hut and retail space have also been added.

“I think the new bar is beautiful, beachy and of course fun,” Dodd comments. “And we have lots of new logo wear. After having a great time at Lava Lava Beach Club, people like having a souvenir to remember it by.”

Many guests also take advantage of a photo opp in front of four colorful, vertical surf boards near the lawn, another way to capture the moment. And nearby, four contemporary Lava Lava Beach Club Hawaiian cottages are available for rent, where guests can fall sleep to the sounds of the surf or spend hours swimming in the ocean just seconds from their doorstep.

Lava Lava Beach Club is part of Luana Hospitality Group, co-owned by Dodd and Eric von Platen Luder. They also own Huggo’s and On the Rocks restaurants in Kona, and Kai Eats + Drinks in Historic Kailua Village on the Big Island. In addition, they manage Lava Lava Beach Club’s sister restaurant of the same name on Kaua`i.

The restaurant’s culinary team is led by Rey Dilkato, who moved to the Waikoloa Beach Resort location from Lava Lava Beach Club Kaua`i. Some of their most popular dishes are Sizzling Shrimp, Mac Nut Crusted Fresh Island Fish and Huggo’s Teriyaki Steak.

“The quality of food has really improved with our expanded space,” Dodd says. “Some new fish dishes were added too.”

Tasty breakfast items from the Brunch on the Beach menu are now available daily from 8 to 10:30 am.

The remaining restaurant renovations, including a new office building on the back of the lawn and new restrooms, were recently completed. Because Lava Lava Beach Club is so popular, parking has been expanded.

“Our parking spaces have more than quadrupled. We are so happy to have ample parking for our loyal customers,” Dodd says. Kona-based Tinguely Development managed the construction project, while SWW Architecture and Interiors from Seattle were instrumental in updating the restaurant’s architecture and interior design.

“They understood our vision and style, and the principals had been cottage guests, so they really loved Lava Lava Beach Club,” Dodd comments.

“They took the fun, breezy vibe and color palette we opened with and gave us an updated fresh look on the same theme. It really looks the same — why change something people love?”

Mauka Bar and Grill Debuts

There is a new gathering place at Waikoloa Beach Resort and its popularity is snowballing, according to Mauka Bar and Grill’s owner Brian Flynn. The restaurant opened in late May at the resort’s golf clubhouse.

With beautifully crafted monkeypod tables and large comfortable chairs, stunning views can be seen mauka (towards the mountains) from the dining room and outdoor patio. Artwork adorning the walls inside represents the coming together of the area’s paniolo and surf cultures.

Breakfast fare ranges from a quick parfait, avocado toast or breakfast sandwich for golfers on the run to sit-down dishes like mochi pancakes, French toast, Loco Moco and Mauka Makai Benedict for locals and resort guests who want to enjoy a more leisurely meal. Appetizers, soup and salads, followed by burgers, sandwiches and a variety of tacos are on the lunch menu.

“Mauka and Makai Benedict with Keahole lobster claws and filet medallions is a big hit,” Flynn says. “Our lunch dishes are all fresh and made from scratch. You have to try the Korean Kalbi Tacos.”

Chef Alika Ambrosio, with more than 18 years’ experience in Las Vegas, leads Mauka Bar and Grill’s culinary team, supported by his uncle Greg Ambrosio and cousin Gavin Ambrosio.

“The Ambrosio family have extensive fine dining experience, and great cooking runs in the family,” Flynn says.

Happy Hour is 3 to 5 pm daily. “We offer the best Happy Hour on the coast, with half off all appetizers, $6 craft cocktails and $6 shots and beer, with your choice of local draught and Casamigos tequila,” Flynn explains.

Doug Sessions, the restaurant’s bar and general manager, is a locally recognized mixologist who created the cocktail menu, with craft being the focus.

A sommelier and an extensive wine list will be part of restaurant’s steakhouse component, aimed to open for dinner in early September

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