Student Everett Prieto works with UH Maui College chef instructor Tom Lelli. Image courtesy University of Hawai‘i.

Leis Family Class Act Restaurant at the University of Hawai’i Maui College was rated the No.1 dining establishment in the state, according to online restaurant reservation app OpenTable. In 2006, the UH Board of Regents voted to accept UH Maui College’s largest gift ever – $1 million from Dorvin and Betty Leis to advance sustainability initiatives at the campus – and approved renaming the school’s fine dining facility the “Leis Family Class Act Restaurant.”

The restaurant, located on the second floor of the Paʻina Building at UH Maui College, offers a three-course prix fixe menu with an a la carte dessert on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am to 12:30pm. In addition to naming it the No. 1 dining establishment in the state, the Leis Family Class Act Restaurant holds titles for: Best Food (No. 2), Best Value (No. 1), and Notable Diners Choice “Great for Lunch” (No. 1).

All of the cooking and service at the restaurant is handled by UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program students under the supervision of chef instructor Tom Lelli and dining room instructor Mark Malone. “I want to own my own restaurant so that’s why a class like this is super exciting because I’m getting the experience in the front of the house and the back of the house as well,” said Mikel Espinosa Reyes, culinary student. Culinary students also learn about wines in this class.

Teresa Shurilla, UH Maui College Culinary Arts program director, said the culinary arts ‘ohana is excited about OpenTable’s ratings. “We all started shouting about it because it’s huge for our school to be voted number one against all the amazing restaurants that we have here in Hawai‘i,” Shurilla said.

The ratings are based on 400,000 new diner reviews posted on the online reservations hub. The Leis Family Class Act rating is 4.9 out of five stars based on 390 posted reviews. “And for us to be able to be recognized and to receive an award from that, with that caliber in that category, it’s amazing when each eight weeks you have brand new students,” said Malone.

Reservations for the Leis Family Class Act Restaurant are available through

Suzanne Kayian is a Maui-based writer, public relations specialist and social media zealot. With more than 20 years experience, Suzanne has contributed to a variety of publications ranging from local independent...

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