Mala Ocean Tavern in Maui reopens after devastating wildfires

ByJanel Andronico Localish logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Mala Ocean Tavern in Maui serves as a beacon of hope
Mala Ocean Tavern in Maui shares its journey toward reopening after Lahaina's devastating wildfires.This beloved oceanfront restaurant shares its journey toward reopening after Lahaina's devastating wildfires.

LAHAINA, Hawaii -- On August 8, 2023, damaging wind-driven wildfires hit Maui. The historic town of Lahaina suffered devastating damage as a result; however, one popular oceanfront restaurant survived the destruction.

Mala Ocean Tavern is a beloved spot with breathtaking ocean views and a colorful menu of delicious dishes and cocktails.

The space luckily avoided complete destruction, yet faced several challenges before successfully reopening to the public this year.

"I came down just crying like I can't believe this is really here, like it's still here," remembered Caleb Hopkins, the Co-Owner of the Mala Ocean Tavern as he recalled the aftermath of the fire. "It was a miracle, it's like the little restaurant that could, you know."

"The first thing on our mind is our people, where are they? Are they okay? Have we lost anybody, let's take care of our people first and figure all that out," added Javier Barberi, the Co-Owner of Mala Ocean Tavern. "Once all that kind of started getting a little bit more organized...and everyone got what they needed, then we started focusing on Mala and the business in the restaurant."

From securing power and water to cleaning the space and replacing fundamental structures, there were many hurdles to overcome. Today, the tavern once again serves its iconic seafood and farm-to-table, regional cuisine.

"Just getting our business open, we didn't know what it was going to be like," expressed Ashley Davis, the Co-Owner of the Mala Ocean Tavern. "Our community has come out in full force to support us, and it's just really wonderful seeing all those familiar faces."

Davis added, "We don't want to forget either, we want to honor everyone who was lost and we want to honor our community and Lahaina."

David Fincher is also a Co-Owner and helps bring warmth and support to the staff and customers at this oceanside gem.

The restaurant extends its aloha to visitors through an unforgettable dining experience while offering support to the Maui community.

Mala Ocean Tavern is taking donations through their GoFundMe to assist those on the restaurant's hospitality staff who have lost their homes.

For more information, visit here.