The 3,600-square-foot space will employ 75 people, adding to the 250 people Ellman already employs at his Maui restaurants. Frida’s will be the 16th restaurant Ellman has opened in Hawaii, includingMigrant, a local cuisine based gastropub at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort & Spa run by Chef Sheldon Simeon.
Frida’s will focus on the coastal cuisine that comes from Mexico, Peru and Argentina. Ceviche will be one of the specialities served at the restaurant. Ellman visited Mexico to research authentic recipes and will visit Lima, Peru, and Buenos Aires in Argentina in September to expand his knowledge.
Frida’s will not be the first time Ellman introduces latin food to Hawaii. He is also the founder and former owner of Maui’s Taco which he sold in 2008.
Ellman said he is excited to return his background in Latin cooking.
“Mexican food is close to my heart because I met my wife while working at a Mexican restaurant,” said Ellman, “I was cooking and she was bartending and here we are 36 years later.”
Ellman has worked in food service for 44 years and watched his restaurants turn into family businesses. His two daughters, Michelle Ellman and Ariana Guarnier, work as general managers while his sister, Gerry Ellman, works on the wait staff as well as a manager.
Ellman is recognized for helping start the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement in 1991, along with 11 other prominent local chefs including Roy Yamaguchi, Sam Choy and Peter Merriman. He is also the author of “Practice Aloha,” a book that complied various stories about people that live in Hawaii.