Women Making Waves on Maui: Alma Tassi of South Shore Tiki Lounge
By Lauren LaDoux, Maui Sales Director
This is our nod to the women who are standing tall, climbing mountains and making a difference on this little slice of heaven known as Maui. Whether these women are entrepreneurs, humanitarians, environmentalists or are just doing something really cool, they are making Maui a better place, every day.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Alma Tassi at Akamai Coffee in Kihei. If you don’t know who Alma is, she’s the inspiring and relatable co-owner of South Shore Tiki Lounge at Kihei Kalama Village here in Maui. She’s not just a co-owner, though—she’s also a freelance writer, a marketer, and the mother to three beautiful babies. She. Is. Fierce.
Alma and her husband, Mikhail, moved to Maui fifteen years ago from New York where Mikhail had spent his career in the food and beverage industry and Alma had spent hers in marketing. Their combined talents are the perfect match for opening and running a restaurant, and the story on how they came to own South Shore Tiki Lounge is an interesting one that only fate could align.
One night back in early 2008, they were sitting at a bar in Kihei, talking about how they wanted to open their own restaurant, when the bartender told them that the South Shore Tiki Lounge was for sale and the broker was sitting just a few seats away. They took that as a sign so they seized upon the opportunity and by December of that year, Alma and Mikhail were the new owners. Fast forward ten years, and they’ve completely transformed the space into one of the coolest little restaurants on Maui.
Mikhail runs the restaurant side while Alma is all business. Alma works behind the scenes, using her passion for marketing and creativity to help bring Tiki Lounge into the community. She has a knack for finding ways to engage their customers and keep people coming back for more. From fundraisers to a night club, to napkin drawing contests to the coolest Bloody Marys you’ve ever seen on Maui, South Shore Tiki Lounge does it all. For this summer, they launched a Pride Night with DJ Kurt every first Saturday in support of Aloha Maui Pride. And if you’re a tiki enthusiast, don’t miss the collection and ambiance over at this little space—you won’t regret it.
The charms of South Shore Tiki Lounge are evident even from the outside
Outside of the restaurant, Alma has freelanced for some pretty snazzy magazines including Travel + Leisure, Maui No Ka ‘Oi and The Budget Travel. She’s worked for companies such as Yahoo! and Cabrinha Kites and helped produce a New York Times Best Seller. Did I also mention she’s an amazing mother? If I haven’t, she is and that kind of work should never go without acknowledgment.
Alma has ditched every cliché out there. She’s followed her passions and paved a path for herself doing what she loves, while intentionally and successfully balancing motherhood, life and work. Meeting Alma reminded me to dream big and not to be afraid to demand happiness. Sometimes, it will take you to wonderful, unexpected places. Sometimes, those places are on the slopes of Haleakalā editing books or a little tiki bar by the beach hosting happy hour.
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