David Pauls Lahaina Grill
Lahaina, Maui


Hawai'i Restaurant Association
Lahaina Grill Island Home

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Of  David Paul's Restaurant


   Chef David Paul Johnson and restaurant owner Rick Ralston opened their Lahaina Grill on the street level of the Lahaina Hotel with 55 seats, and quickly recognized the need for expansion into the adjoining space occupied by an art gallery. Keeping in context with the historical nature of the area, the original restaurant employed a tinned ceiling with crown molding, late-1800s-style lighting, and period trims. The challenge was to maintain the character and function of the original restaurant with its existing kitchen and bar without increasing congestion from the new tables.

     The earliest design task was to raise the floor in the gallery space to the same elevation as the existing restaurant floor, resolve how the ceilings would meet (both were different heights), and then make it feel as if the remodel had never occurred. The next chore was to locate products used in the restaurant's original construction. The tinned ceiling and trim were still being manufactured, but had to be special ordered, generating a short, but unexpected delay. The existing tile floors laid on the street side of the restaurant were damaged; new ceramic tiles were installed in the identical pattern of white ceramic area tiles with a black diamond in the corners. The light ash floors were matched with an engineered veneer and refinished on the job, and the painted bead board wainscot was continued into the new dining area to keep the dated integrity. By chance, marble used in the original bar was discovered hidden at the manufacturers' baseyard, saving the expense of purchasing all new stone. A large U-shape bar was created from the original L-shaped bar, appetizer preparation was moved to this new space, and overall restaurant function was improved by increasing kitchen space. A much larger espresso machine added to the backside of the bar freed-up the bartender and created an alternate staging center for the wait help.

An antique store on the makai side of the building provided space for the second remodel, which increased seating capacity to 177, including a Chef's Table for exclusive functions. Gently arched openings were floated through the wall to visually link the new space to the other side of the restaurant. A second wine rack for the restaurant was added framed in dark period trim and gracefully sits atop the existing solid red oak floor that was left in place. A new baking center with a domed glass chill case displays baked goods and deserts and sits between two mahogany stained bead board skirted cabinets topped with marble matching the bar.
Diners today are not aware of the previous two remodels: Every detail from the original restaurant can be found in the consolidated space, and the quality of the surroundings and cuisine has never faltered. Currently owned by Jurg Muich, the restaurant continues to unite diners with an unsurpassed menu and a truly memorable dining environment.

Virtual tours provided by Jurg Munich, proprietor David Paul's Lahaina Grill