Steps to Success at Beachwalk Café in Wailea
From sunrise to sunset, the feet just never seem to stop moving along the Wailea Coastal Walk that stretches between Keawakapu and Polo Beach, with numerous resorts and condos in between.
But the steps that went into creating a new stop along that 1.5-mile-long path were not always simple ones. The journey to transform a snorkel rental shack into an inviting café and eatery took up to nine months, and involved a healthy amount of people who all needed to be “in step” with each other.
“It’s been very exciting; it’s been a daunting task nevertheless to put something like this together,” says Jeff Melcher, recreation director at Four Seasons Resort Maui. “It’s never one person by themselves, so with all the other managers, executives, designers and ownership, they’ve all been very helpful, very instrumental.”
Beachwalk Café features island coffee and expresso; sandwiches (starting at 11 a.m. daily) and snacks; retail items such as sunglasses, hats and sunscreen; and house-made gelato and sorbets in flavors like raspberry, lilikoi-banana and coconut.
“The sorbets are syrup — so it’s sugar and water — and the fruit. That’s it. We avoid all preservatives to make it really healthy,” explains Four Seasons Resort Maui Executive Pastry Chef Bruce Trouyet. “The shelf life is definitely shorter, but the taste is definitely better!”
Add milk and little cream (with no eggs), and you have Trouyet’s gelato, in chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel.
He says ingredients include top-quality chocolate from Madagascar and “the best vanilla in the world” from French Polynesia. The fruits, like fresh coconut and lilikoi, are local and seasonal whenever possible.
“In order to get the best flavor, we decided to make it really simple,” says Trouyet, who aims “to make your taste buds happy!”
Beachwalk Cafe’s opening comes on the heels of a recently-completed transformation of the resort’s 383 guest rooms and suites. Crews also made a lawn area for café customers, complete with high-top tables, chairs and lounge furniture overlooking the ocean.
“It was a bunch of sand and some shrubbery that was not doing too well,” Melcher explains, “so it was created to make it an extension of the Beachwalk Café to enjoy your sandwich, your gelato and your cup of coffee, and do a little whale watching as well.”
Four Seasons Resort Maui General Manager Jean Claude Wietzel says down the road, the beachfront lawn could also become a special venue closer to pau hāna time.
“We’re looking at possibly having drinks in the evening,” says Wietzel. “Have guests enjoying the sunset view, or perhaps in the future having a nice glass of maybe champagne, and oysters, so more exciting opportunities for Beachwalk Café.”
Walkers quickly became customers within minutes of the café opening on Monday, Feb. 13, and Wietzel says although it’s on Four Seasons property, the eatery is open to everyone.
“It’s an additional offering for not only for the hotel, but also for the community to enjoy,” he explains.
Melcher says he feels a great sense of fulfillment, seeing how all those steps over many months turned a canvas shack into a clean, vibrant café. And being mere feet from the sand is just another step in the right direction.
“Come by,” he smiles, “enjoy a coffee with the best ocean view in the world, right here!”