Restaurant helps Ha‘ena ride out storm

HA‘ENA — In times of natural disasters, the aloha spirit seems to prevail on Kaua‘i. There were no Red Cross shelters providing relief for those stranded in Ha‘ena and Wainiha, the far reaches of Kaua‘i’s North Shore, during the storm earlier this week.

But there was the Mediterranean Gourmet, a family-owned and multiple-award-winning restaurant in Ha‘ena.

The Mediterranean Gourmet usually operates with 25 employees on any given day. With only four employees and no electricity, the restaurant opened in the middle of the storm to lend a hand to those in need. On the second day of the storm, there were only two employees working — and still no power — restaurant owner Yarrow Beydoun said.

“We tried our best to help everybody out,” said Beydoun, who owns the restaurant together with her husband, Imad Beydoun.

For two days in a row, the restaurant donated food to guests and owners of the nearby Hanalei Colony Resort. It also sold fish sandwiches for $10 a piece.

“I’ve always taken care of everybody in this neighborhood,” Beydoun said.

On Friday, despite the bad weather making a comeback and a flash flood warning reissued, Beydoun’s restaurant was open with a full staff.

The Mediterranean Gourmet first opened in 2006. After less than a year in operation, it started gathering awards — and regulars. Honolulu Magazine’s Hale ‘Aina Award named the Mediterranean Gourmet the “Best New Restaurant on Kaua‘i” in 2007. Every year since 2008, it has been named “Best Restaurant on Kaua‘i.” The Mediterranean Gourmet also snatched “Best Large Group Restaurant on Kaua‘i” in 2009.

The Mediterranean Gourmet has more than 40 employees on its payroll, according to Beydoun.

Call 826-9875 for more information about the Mediterranean Gourmet.

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