Monkeypod restaurant to anchor Outrigger Reef

Mar. 5—Renowned Hawaii chef Peter Merriman will be the driving force of the new signature beachfront restaurant at the transformed Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort.

The Outrigger Hospitality Group, which is putting the finishing touches on its $80 million renovation, announced Thursday that Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman will go into the location previously occuped by the Reef Bar and Market Grill and its predecessor, the Shore Bird Restaurant &Beach Bar. The 12, 000-square-foot restaurant is expected to be finished by the end of the year. The resort plans to reopen in late spring after being closed since last March due to COVID-19.

"The opportunity to partner with Outrigger for a restaurant on this iconic stretch of sand is nothing short of a dream come true, " Peter Merriman, chairman and owner at Handcrafted Restaurants, said in a statement. "Dining at Monkeypod Kitchen is a culinary exploration rich in culture, quality and fun. We look forward to sharing the bounty of Hawai 'i's ranchers, farmers and fishers on the beach in Waikiki and providing a sublime space for kama 'aina and visitors alike to reconnect with friends and family while celebrating the craft of food, drink and merrimaking, with aloha."

Monkeypod, which will be available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, will offer items ranging from fresh Kualoa Ranch oysters and Big Island goat cheese bruschetta to Waipoli Farms organic greens and a Maui Cattle Co. wood-grilled burger. It also will serve up its celebrated Monkeypod Mai Tai.

This will be Merriman's fourth Monkeypod restaurant and will join the list that includes one in Ko Olina on Oahu ; and Wailea and Kaanapali on Maui.

"The synergy between Outrigger and Monkeypod Kitchen stems from our shared Hawai 'i roots and heartfelt desire to foster authentic guest experiences with world-class hospitality, " Jeff Wagoner, president and CEO of Outrigger Hospitality Group, said in a statement. "Having Monkeypod Kitchen anchor the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort will complete the transformation and make it a must-visit destination."

The resort will have three other eating options. Kani Ka Pila Grille will have a new stage for live Hawaiian music and a new layout that will nearly double the outdoor seating. Starbucks will have an enhanced interior design, and a new marketplace will provide grab-and-go options.

Outrigger's transformation also includes remodeled rooms and suites, a doubling in size of the Hawaiian cultural center and new retail storefronts.

The resort also is refurbishing its five-story Diamond Head Tower and converting offices into 23 new deluxe rooms and suites. The renovation is scheduled for completion in August and will increase the number of rooms at the resort to 658.