Po‘ipu, Kaua‘i— June 4, 2018 — The summer just got hotter on the South Side! Chef Mark Ruiz and General Manager Tricia Ruiz, owners of Roots in Culture food truck, are trading in their wheels to open Kiawe Roots. The couple, along with their cousin Chef Rodney Baptiste will open this new restaurant concept to the public on June 12.
Kiawe Roots is a first of its kind at The Shops at Kukui‘ula, occupying the space of the former Tortilla Republic (TR) – Upstairs. “It’s coming full circle,” says Chef Mark who headed TR in 2016. “I’m excited to be back in the same kitchen that inspired me to open a place of my own.” Kiawe Roots takes southern smoked barbecue to another level with a nod to Asian and Latin flavors, hence the term roots reflecting the heritage of the Ruiz and Baptiste.
The menu boasts items such as Grandpa’s Chili Arancini, Jawaiian Jerk Pork Ribs, Dad’s Fried Chicken and sides such as Filipino-inspired Calamansi Slaw and Puerto Rican Gandule Rice. Kiawe Roots is committed to serving locals and visitors dishes of flavor traditionally found at their family’s backyard barbecue. “The restaurant brings forth the tastes from our childhood past, mixed with food we’ve grown to love through our cultural and culinary experiences,” says Tricia. “We want our guests to experience our rendition of elevated Kaua‘i cooking,” says Tricia.
The restaurant will be open daily for brunch, happy hour, and dinner. “We are honored to include Chef Mark and Tricia and Chef Rodney in our extraordinary collection of culinary talents,” says Stacie Chiba-Miguel, General Manager of The Shops at Kukui‘ula. “We enthusiastically support this local family and their new business venture.” “Mark and Tricia have developed quite a following since their food truck debut in 2017. I’m always in search of the next best bite and this might be it,” says social media influencer, Fetia Solomon.