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A magical Maui night of pupus and cocktails at Gannon’s Wialea

Pupus and cocktails with Bev, Joe and friends at Gannon's Wailea
Pupus and cocktails with Bev, Joe and friends at Gannon's WaileaRichard Pietschmann

The setting sun was slipping behind the lower slope of Lanai across the channel, spreading a magenta glow into the Hawaiian sky as we met Bev and Joe at Gannon’s, one of their three Maui restaurants. It would be a meal of pupus, the Hawaiian word for finger food or appetizers, between old friends. We had first met Bev 25 years ago—could it have been that long ago?—just after she had opened her first restaurant, Hali’imaile General Store, in Upcountry Maui. It was love at first sight, and not only because of her delicious but simple food.

Portrait of Chef Bev Gannon's chef's coat
Portrait of Chef Bev Gannon's chef's coatRichard Pietschmann

Gannon’s, at Wailea’s Gold Course, is far fancier and larger than the easy, tidy charm of Hali’imaile, but the food is just as good. Soon the big round table on the restaurant’s lanai was covered with plates we passed eagerly—sashimi od ahi and yellowtail with a green apple-jicama slaw; pork spareribs that baked with water then slathered with Bev’s barbecue sauce and then grilled; savory crispy calamari; jumbo shrimp cocktail; tempura tofu; and a rich mashed potato dish she calls “tater tots.”

As the soft breeze of a gentle Maui night washed over the contented table, we finished by sharing dessert—chocolate shortcake; apple crumble; and lilikoi (passionfruit), ginger, and butterscotch crème brulee. Before we hugged and drove off separately, we had to take what passes in Hawaii for a formal portrait—Bev in front of a painting of her chef’s coat.

It really was just another magical night on Hawaii’s Valley island.