New to Do in Kailua

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Formaggio Grill

Formaggio Grill, which opened its Kailua branch last year, recently bought the space next door to use for corporate functions and special events.

“My thinking is that if all we do is focus on cuts, cuts, cuts, what you’re doing is dying a slow death,” says owner Wes Zane. As much as his brain told him he should conserve whatever reserves he had to survive 2009, his gut told him something else—to focus on providing more revenue. “Now, we can do wine dinners, business lunches. … It makes an all-around good venue.”

In the private room, called “The Gallery,” there’s a big-screen TV on the wall, so patrons can hook up their computers for presentations. The high ceilings, funky chandeliers and paintings by local artist Ron Genta create a space attractive enough for smaller wedding groups or other special gatherings. The room can accommodate up to 40 people for a sit-down meal, more for stand-up events.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, the main restaurant offers soups, salads and pizzas, all for under $15, and more upscale options such as the Chilled Seafood Tower à la Ritz ($89), which serves two.

Zane also started a happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. with $3 beers, $4 wines, $5 cocktails and $6 tapas. On the first Monday of each month, Formaggio will help local charities and nonprofits by donating 10 percent of sales generated by members and their guests to the organization. Contact the restaurant for details.

305 Hahani St. • 263-2633 •


Sweet Paradise Chocolatier uses fresh, locally-grown cacao nibs to make chocolate.

Photo: Alex Viarnes

Sweet Paradise Chocolatier

After 30 years of traveling to some of the world’s best chocolate destinations as a diamond and gemstone buyer, Melanie Boudar decided to pursue a second career as a chocolatier. Boudar, who owns a luxury bed and breakfast on the Big Island, got started by making chocolate for the rooms there. She received professional training in Vancouver and New York, entered the Kona Chocolate Festival and won the judge’s choice awards in 2007 and 2008. 

“We always refer to these as semiprecious confections,” says Boudar, who opened Sweet Paradise Chocolatier near Kailua Road in October.

On a recent day, she was handing out samples, including a mango-mojito tidbit flavored with mango, mint, rum and lime. Boudar focuses as much as possible on Island flavors, such as fruit, vanilla or ginger, and hand-paints many of her chocolates. They’re so beautiful, it seems a shame to eat them. But they’re so delicious, it seems a shame not to eat them. The key, then, must simply be to savor them.

Hours are 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

20-A Kainehe St. • 230-8228 •



Ecstatic Dance Hawaii

Participants in Ecstatic Dance Hawaii's classes are encouraged to "surrender" to movement.

Alex Viarnes

Swirling, twirling, jumping, thumping, stretching, yelping, laughing.

Fifteen people of all ages gathered on a Sunday morning for an “ecstatic dance” session. This sort of dancing to unwind the psyche has been around for decades in places like San Francisco and even has a large following on Maui, but only recently hit O‘ahu. It’s exercise, soulfulness, spirituality or meditation—whatever people want it to be.

Facilitator Heeraa Sazevich starts the session by asking participants to focus on a particular word, such as “surrender.” Then, she turns up the rhythmic world music and encourages people to just dance.

“I don’t teach any moves,” Sazevich says. “I hope I am creating a safe space for people to go and let their hair down. … If people think they need to be dancers, that’s a total misunderstanding. If people think they have two left feet, then that’s perfect. It’s more about enjoying movement.”

Mirrors surround Kailua Movement Studio (which also offers belly dancing, martial arts and yoga classes), but few people watch themselves.

 “People like to shake it out,” says Sazevich. “It’s great for stress relief.”

Toward the end of the session, Sazevich puts on quieter music to allow a cool-down before asking the group to lie on the floor for a few moments of meditation.

Classes are $10 and run from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Sundays. Sazevich also facilitates a session on Sunday evenings at St. Andrews Priory Dance Studio in Honolulu and on Friday evenings at Kapiolani Community College. [Edited 4/3/09]

776 Kailua Road • 282-5151 •

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