Max’s South Seas Hideaway—a passion project for owners Mark Sellers, founder of HopCat, Martin Cate and Gecko, a renowned Hawaii-based Tiki and Polynesian artist—opened in October 2019. “Max’s [is] the largest-scale Tiki restaurant to open anywhere in the world in decades, and will put Grand Rapids on the map for ‘Tiki tourists’ and fans around the world,” says Cate.
The restaurant will feature Sellers’ collection of midcentury and modern Tiki artifacts and boasts three custom bars, several semiprivate Tiki huts, an intimate dining room and two private dining areas.
“When you step inside Max’s, you’ll enter a fantasy world unlike anything previously seen in Grand Rapids,” says Sellers. “Everything from the music, to the service, tropical cocktails, artwork, and gourmet food is being created to transport guests to a place far from their day-to-day life. Our goal is for people to forget the outside world exists, if only for an hour or two.”
Cate, who is the restaurant’s bar owner and expert mixologist, created the cocktail menu. Cate is well-known for co-authoring “Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki” with his wife Rebecca; the book won the 2017 James Beard award in the beverage category. Max’s will serve classics like the Mai Tai and Zombie along with specialty cocktails, all of which use fresh tropical fruits and juices, house- made ingredients, top-shelf rums and premium spirits.
The gourmet food menu from chef Joseph Peebles will include a classic Pu Pu Platter of shareable Polynesian-inspired appetizers, fresh seafood selections and dry-aged steaks, as well as vegan and vegetarian items.
Later this year, Max’s will also open its own ceramic studio where custom-designed Tiki mugs and other ceramic items will be manufactured for sale inside the restaurant and through Max’s online store. A boutique Tiki-themed hotel is also slated to open on the building’s third floor later in 2020.