Known for cooking authentic Hawaiian food in unexpected locales, the celebrated chef takes on Maui’s tony Wailea. 

It’s tough to believe it was eight years ago that a young Hilo-born chef named Sheldon Simeon was part of the opening team at Star Noodle, in an out-of-the-way business complex above the touristy town of Lahaina. At the time it was everything that most Maui restaurants weren’t; it was cheap and the pan-Pacific cooking was unbelievably pure. Word soon spread amongst both locals and visiting foodies, and Simeon—thanks in part to a popular Top Chef appearance—became something of a celebrity chef. 

After a few years he moved on, opening the sublime lunch spot Tin Roof, again in an unexpected location, a strip mall in busy Kahalui. It was even cheaper, the food was great and the lines were long. But as great as Tin Roof is, its urban location and lunchtime-only hours make it a tough order for most visitors. So when it was announced last year that Simeon was working on a new concept, hopes were very high.

Sheldon Simeon

The result is the newly opened Lineage—which is thankfully located not in some far-off industrial park but in the very swank Shops at Wailea, and it’s a game-changer. Local, without being hokey. Relaxed, but with a dialed-in menu showcasing gems like cold ginger chicken with green onion pesto and chili oil ($18). And it being Simeon, the prices are significantly lower than the most of Wailea. At this point maybe he should just run for mayor?