Kauai Restaurant of the Week with Anne Lee: MCS GrillInside Feature
April 10, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: Anne Lee
Anne Lee speaks with MCS Grill owner Chimes Lauama
Gather Federal Credit Union is supporting the Kauai restaurant community with offering a 3% cash back for Gather FCU Signature Visa card holders or double points for Platinum Visa cardholders either dining in or ordering takeout until April 2022. This week’s featured Gather FCU featured restaurant is MCS Grill, located in the town of Hanapepe, Kauai’s biggest little town.
Home of the West Side Chilli Peppa Chicken, owner Chimes Lauama prepared customer food favorites as well as their tasty version of plantation iced tea. When visiting this side of the island, you have to come to MCS Grill. Every bite I tried was worth every calorie.
Q. Please tell me the history of MCS Grill.
A. The M represents my daughter Makayla, the C represents me for Chimes, and the S is for my husband Siah, short for Josiah. In August 2013, I had an amazing opportunity to open up a restaurant, and like any new business there were the kinks along the way. We were able to stay focused, which helped us grow from a small family restaurant and expand to offer catering for family gatherings to weddings, and daily catering partnership with Blue Dolphin Charters.
Q. How long has MCS Grill been open on Kauai?
A. October 2013.
Q. What does your menu consist of?
A. We have a very diverse menu, from local style comfort food like saimin, loco moco or Chili Peppa Fried Chicken, to Kauai shrimp scampi or steamed white clams. And we can’t forget about our daily specials: Oxtail Mondays and Prime Rib Fridays.
Q. Tell me about your dishes, and what are the customer favorites?
A. Our dishes are family inspired. Our customer favorite is definitely the MCS Combo: Hawaiian Chili Peppa Fried Chicken, fried saimin, rice and salad for $13.95. Our Pulled Pork Nachos ($14.25) features our fresh fried garlic herb tortilla chips, kalua pork and pico de gallo made in-house, topped with olives, sour cream and local green onions.
Customers love all of our salad options ($6.50 side salad; $16 for a protein-packed entrée size), since we use island greens delivered fresh daily from our local farmers. My favorite is the Thai Salad with grilled chicken breast, made with our peanut vinaigrette with flavors of cilantro, ginger, lemongrass, garlic and peanuts.
We have been told our Fish & Chips ($16.50) are the best some have had. Our Saimin ($9.25 half; $13.75 full) broth is made daily slowly simmered in a shrimp-based pork broth. Our burgers are housemade 8-ounce beef patties served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, sweet onion and dijonnaise with fries starting at $16.25 — the Mushroom & Swiss Burger is my favorite.
We also offer vegetarian and vegan dishes. Our housemade Vegetarian Burger ($17.25) of bulgur wheat, barley and quinoa is popular, as well as our lentil loaf. It’s served with spicy aioli (vegetarian) or veggie gravy (vegan), your choice of rice (white or brown) and salad (mixed greens or potato mac salad). Our Campanelle Pasta with Vegetarian Sausage ($18) is not just for vegetarians.
Kauai Shrimp Scampi ($26), featuring our own Kauai shrimp is widely popular.
We also have an extensive keiki menu. All keiki meals come with a small drink along with carrots with ranch and fruit starting at $10. Don’t forget about desserts ($5-$7.50), which are baked fresh in-house daily. Popu lar favorites are our Lilikoi Chiffon Cream Cheese Squares, Banana Cream Pie, warm Peach or Apple Cobbler made with our oat crumble topping served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and Pumpkin Crunch — Kauai people enjoy this dessert year-round!
Q. Anything else you want to share?
A. MCS Grill supports American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which used to take place right across the street from us in the Hanapepe Stadium.
We still continue to sponsor them although they haven’t been able to hold the event due to COVID. Even before we opened the restaurant we were already supporters. I lost my brother to leukemia back in 2005, he was only 26. He battled for three years, leaving a daughter behind. Cancer sucks and we want to support those families and individuals suffering by giving back.
We also like to give back to the community by hosting fundraising events in the past for high school and Pop Warner, and continue to do so with Hanapepe’s Storybook Theatre of Hawaii, an organization that hosts live educational experiences for kids while teaching cultural values and heritage of the people of Hawaii.