NAPILI — While driving north on Napili’s curving Lower Honoapiilani Road, one can easily pass Napili Shores Resort on your left and not even notice a small sign that says “GAZEBO Restaurant.” QUICK! Turn around and look for 5315 on the makai side, where the entrance will take you right down to the water’s edge and one of Maui’s most popular and casual eateries, the Gazebo!
Poolside in a sculptured postcard setting facing Molokai just across the Pailolo Channel would be incentive enough to dine there, but add an elegant menu with friendly prices served by a congenial staff. Yes, you have discovered the well-loved, open-air diner GAZEBO!
“The Gazebo was first built as the Napili Shores Pool House in 1973,” said Jerry Corson, who bought the business with his wife, Lucy, in 1995. “We redecorated it with tropical plants, Hawaiian memorabilia and with loving care. Now during the winter months, we offer front row seating for whale watching.”
And what a pleasant place to dine — an open air gazebo with a lovely pool on one side and ocean wavelets lapping the shore on the other side.
“We’ve both been in the food industry for 32 years,” Jerry continued. “When we bought the restaurant 15 years ago, we kept a few of the original items on the menu, improved upon them and created new dishes of our own.”
“We have guests from all over that were told, ‘When you’re on Maui, you must eat at the Gazebo!’ Then they tell others upon their return, and our popularity just keeps growing and growing,” he added.
“On an average day, we serve 400 meals,” Lucy said. “We give credit to all of our staff — even our guests rave about our friendly crew. Some of our people have been with us for over 15 years — they are more like family than employees.”
“Our success is due to the efforts and talents of our staff,” said Jerry. “We started with six employees and now have 24. The staff is headed by our chef, Godfrey Green, who is ‘hands-on’ in the restaurant. He works hard to produce great food at a good value. His love of food took him to the culinary program at MCC many years ago and is reflected in the dedication, pride and energy he puts forth in his work.”
Putting out that delicious food, the kitchen crew includes Green, Iris Dias, Peter Legler, Glenn Salcedo, Joseph Espiritu, Leila Malasig, Roscoe Criswell, Jake Wyffels, David Flores, Ronald Briones and Kimberly Briones.
“The front of the house that helps make all those people happy on a daily basis are the smiling faces of many longtime Maui residents, including Sherrie Manning, Annette Lisk, Christine Puppich, Vickie Dobbs, Kristin Wheeler, Yvonne Carter, Genia D’Ambrosio, Jeni Foust, Chanel Kaaihue, Lois Bermel, Miriam Sandoval, Patricia Heath and Katia Heath,” Jerry said.
Besides the enchanting location, the Gazebo is noted for its lavish breakfast and lunch menu, serving mammoth-size portions of savory entrees. Invite your aunties, uncles and all the cousins, for there is food enough to share!
From the Breakfast Menu, we started with the “Eggstraordinary” Fried Rice Plate — more like a massive platter of delectable fried rice with thick, lean bacon bits that give the whole dish a rich, earthy flavor. Topped with golden egg strips, it is truly extraordinary fried rice.
Then the Big Kahuna Omelet arrived, jam-packed with bacon, Portuguese sausage, onions, mushrooms, avocado slices and pepper jack cheese — WOW! It’s made with three eggs and served with potatoes or rice and toast.
Nothing can surpass the Banana, Pineapple, Mac-Nut Combo Pancakes for that sweet-tooth, served with whipped cream made with butterscotch topping and maple syrup.
And the quality and quantity of the dishes that come out of that small kitchen are unbelievable! For instance, the heavenly Royal Princess Papuli Salad with papaya seed dressing is served on a platter. It consists of albacore tuna, bay shrimp, slices of papaya and avocado on a bed of crisp greens — a beautiful presentation!
The Veggie Benedict was superb — a heavenly vegetarian dish with a golden egg yolk shimmering down over brilliant green spinach.
And the Patty Melt Sandwich was also superb! Served on grilled rye bread and loaded with a BIG, flavorful beef patty, onions and cheese, it was the best we ever tasted!
There are so many fine sandwich combos on the lunch menu, and the beauty of it all is that nothing costs more than $11.25! No wonder the Gazebo is so popular!
And their popularity is phenomenal. People start lining up at 6:45 a.m. — and the line gets longer year after year — clear up to closing time at 2 p.m.
“We’re well-aware of the wait for a table,” said Jerry, “and the customers’ patience is very much appreciated.”
But what a pleasurable wait, gazing at the sea with light breezes rustling the palm fronds. There’s a small gift shop nearby open from 7:30 a.m. to noon selling Hawaiian items and souvenirs.
“Our location is very dear to us,” Lucy added. “We hope the majestic ocean scene right before our eyes will be captured in the memory of our guests.”
Jerry and Lucy give thanks to their talented staff for helping make the Gazebo what it is today.
“We have a team of goodhearted people that really try to make sure that everyone who walks through our doors has a good experience with us. We have a genuine desire to see that our customers are happy. We know people appreciate that,” Jerry concluded.
Gazebo is open seven days a week. Call 669-5621.
PAU FOR NOW...
Owner Jerry Corson (left) and Chef Godfrey Green present their abundant dishes created at Gazebo (from left): top — Macadamia, Pineapple and Banana Combo Pancakes, Fried Rice Plate and Veggie Benedict; bottom — Big Kahuna Omelet, Princess Papuli Salad and the Patty Melt. Photo by Rob Reed.