GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Three of the best-known tiki entrepreneurs and artists are teaming up to create Max's South Seas Hideaway, a three-story tiki bar, restaurant and boutique located in the historic Waldron Public House.

The venture is a partnership between Martin Cate, a James Beard award-winning author, bar owner, and rum and exotic cocktail expert; Mark Sellers, creator of bars like HopCat, Stella's Lounge and Tiki Cat; and Gecko, a renowned Hawaii-based tiki and Polynesian artist.

The restaurant is set to open in August 2019.

"The level of talent working together to create this oasis will put Grand Rapids on the map for tiki enthusiasts around the world," Sellers said. "More importantly, Max's will serve as a unique and unforgettable getaway for people in West Michigan looking to escape reality, even if only for a few hours."

According to a press release, the restaurant will "transport guests into a fantasy world of perpetual tropical twilight outfitted with original and vintage tiki artwork and decor."

There will also be seven tiki-themed AirBnB rental apartments on the third floor. Pending city approval, the units are expected to be completed by early 2020 with online reservations starting in the fall.

Sellers founded HopCat in 2008 in Grand Rapids, and he collaborated with Cate to open TikiCat, which was named "Best Tiki Bar in the World" by users of in 2017.

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Cate is known around the world and is the creator of Smuggler's Cove, a San Francisco tiki bar that was named to the World's 50 Best Bars list six years in a row.

Chef Rick Medcalf is creating a unique food menu fusing Asian, Hawaiian and American elements to create delicious and shareable creations.

Other features of the restaurant include:

  • Custom interior design work by Bamboo Ben, Tiki Diable and Notch Gonzalez, three acclaimed tiki artisans known for their work on bars that include TikiCat and Smuggler's Cove.
  • On display will be some of Sellers' rare mid-century tiki art, one of the largest and most valuable collections of its kind in the world.
  • A custom-built 500-gallon saltwater aquarium with tropical fish.
  • A first-of-its-kind "kiln-to-table" ceramic studio where local and national artists will design and create ceramic mugs and bowls to be sold at Max's and on their website.

Hiring for management positions is underway, and hiring for more than 80 hourly positions will begin in July.

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