Sugarcane by Chai’s debuts in Kapolei

With a stellar team in the kitchen, a colorful local menu, and nightly live music, Sugarcane by Chai’s aims to be no less than the premiere dining destination in West Oahu.

Owner Peter Maharaj and Sean Tsai, president of operations, assembled an all-star team, including internationally-renowned, award-winning Chef Chai Chaowasaree, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay, hand picked by Chef Chai, renown mixologist Kenny Lum, and operations head Calvin Yao.

Sugarcane is a contemporary concept restaurant featuring Pacific Regional Cuisine, creative signature cocktails, and a state-of-the-art entertainment system to showcase nightly live music of all genres. Its soft opening began at Ka Makana Ali‘i yesterday, with a grand opening set for April 8.

For Maharaj, Sugarcane by Chai’s is more than just another business, so having the right people on his team was critical.

“Sugarcane is the fulfilment of a dream that my late wife Leslie and I had years ago,” Maharaj said. “I wanted to build it to honor her.”

“Leslie and I love West O‘ahu,” he explained. “As an attorney, she volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and took great pride in representing families and children at the Hawai’i Family Court in Kapolei.”

Maharaj has a residence at Ko Olina, and that his dad lives at Hoakalei.

“We all have so much aloha for the West side,” he said. “It’s home.”

“Leslie and I wanted to build a restaurant here that brought people together to savor delicious cuisine made with local ingredients, enjoy local performing artists, and just have a great time relaxing with friends and family,” Maharaj adds. “We both agreed Chef Chai needed to be a big part of it.”

Chef Chai is recognized as one of Hawaii’s most popular chefs and the recipient of countless awards and honors. Known for fusing fresh local ingredients with the exotic flavors of Asia, he has created a culinary style that reflects our cultural diversity. As co-founder of Hawaii Island Chefs, a collaborative with local farmers and fishermen, Chef Chai has become one of the most influential forces in shaping todayʻs Pacific Regional cuisine.

“I am so excited to be working with Sugarcane and continuing my mission of using locally-sourced ingredients in our dishes,” Chaowasaree said. “Chef Rodhel and I look forward to serving the West Oahu community, as well those who come to visit from around the islands and the world, and hope everyone will enjoy our food.”

Choosing the name “Sugarcane” was also personal for Maharaj as his grandfather toiled in the sugarcane fields as an immigrant and provided a strong foundation for his family. There are design elements of sugarcane throughout the restaurant to reinforce the theme.

“Sugarcane also honors my grandfather,” he said. “I learned so much from him and am extremely proud of the legacy he left me.”

“We are excited to welcome Sugarcane by Chai’s to the Center for West Oahu,” said Stephanie England, General Manager at Ka Makana Ali‘i. “Chef Chaiʻs unique, award-winning cuisine and live entertainment make Sugarcane by Chai’s the perfect destination for date night, girlsʻ night out, family celebrations, and any occasion.”

During the soft opening, from March 26 through April 7, Sugarcane will be open nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight, with a limited dinner menu offered from 5 to 10 p.m., and cocktails only from 10 p.m. to midnight. Live entertainment will be presented from 8 p.m. to closing.

Weekend Brunch will be added soon, and expanded hours will be announced at a later date. For reservations, please call Sugarcane at (808) 670-2744 or go to opentable.com.

The Menu

Chef Chai and Chef Rodhel have created an inspired new menu utilizing locally-sourced ingredients from the land and sea. The soft opening menu is limited to two set dinner menus – including a Vegan menu. Please note that courses may also be purchased a la carte, but the set menu is a better value.

Sugarcane Soft Opening (March 26-April 7) Special Four Course Dinner ($60)

  • Appetizer:  Ahi Carpaccio ($15) – Ahi, Maui Onion, Ho Farm Tomato, Grilled Asparagus, Ululoa Micro-Greens, Salsa Verde
  • Salad:  Sugarcane Caesar Salad ($12) – Maris Garden Baby Romaine, Anchovies, Parmigiano Reggiano, Chicharron Dust, Parmigiano Vinaigrette
  • Choice of Entree:
    • Braised Short Ribs ($36) – Aloha Shoyu, Sake, Valencia Orange Glace, Mashed Potato, Vegetable Du Jour
    • Crab Fonduta Crusted Fresh Catch ($36) – Grilled Fresh Catch, Lump Crab, Mushroom, Spinach, Leeks, Garlic Orzo, Creole Sauce
  • Dessert:  Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Fresh Berries ($12)

Sugarcane Soft Opening (March 26-April 7) VEGAN Special Four Course Dinner ($50)

  • Baked Vegan Lasagna ($12) – Vegan Bolognese, Vegan Mozzarella, Vegan Parmesan, Cauliflower Cake, Spinach Chips
  • Vegan Spaghetti Alfredo ($18) – Best Vegan Dish – Must Try!!!
  • Vegan Club ($30) – Plant-Based Burger, Portobello Mushroom, Roasted Bell Peppers, Maui Onions, Aioli, Garlic Fries
  • Dessert:  Halo Halo with Strawberry Shave Ice ($8) – All Natural, Sugar Free, Gluten Free aAnd Dairy Free

The Bar

At the bar, mixologist Kenny Lum will be concocting his delectable creations for Sugarcane, such as the Colada Milk Punch and the Frozen Mai Tai.

The Stage

On the stage, patrons will enjoy live music nightly with a state-of-the-art audio and visual entertainment system for a concert-like experience. Please check our Instagram and Facebook pages (@sugarcanekapolei) for our entertainment schedule – and please ʻLikeʻ and Follow us! Our website is still under construction.

Artists interested in performing at Sugarcane may email sugarcane.booking@gmail.com.

About Sugarcane by Chai’s

Sugarcane by Chai’s is the flagship restaurant from owner Peter Maharaj and President of Operations Sean Tsai, in collaboration with world-renowned Chef Chai Chaowasaree, featuring Pacific Regional Cuisine, signature cocktails, and live entertainment in a sophisticated yet relaxed setting. The 4,982-square-foot restaurant is located at Ka Makana Ali‘i in West O‘ahu, and offers indoor and outdoor seating. Sugarcane will also be available for take-out and catering and announcing delivery options soon.

About Ka Makana Ali‘i

Ka Makana Ali‘i offers residents and visitors a family-friendly, mixed-use center in the heart of Hawaii’s fastest growing community. The 750,000-square-foot Macy’s-anchored center features more than 100 exciting stores, restaurants, a state-of-the-art Consolidated Theatres and the state’s first Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton located on property. Serving as the premier gathering place in Kapolei, Ka Makana Ali‘i fulfills the shopping and dining needs of the ever-expanding community. Its convenient location offers excellent highway access, ample parking and public transportation for shoppers. Through an innovative partnership with Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Ka Makana Ali‘i will financially support programs benefiting Native Hawaiian interests statewide for decades to come. For more information, please visit www.kamakanaalii.com.