Food, not email
Coming soon to Dallas is a new restaurant with a cuisine we don't see too much of: Hawaiian. Aloha Hawaiian BBQ will open on Lemmon Avenue west of Inwood Road in February.
Aloha is part of a loosely connected chain whose mission is described as bringing the best Hawaiian multicultural dining experience by serving a selection of "plate lunch" foods and American cuisine.
Hawaiian BBQ restaurants typically feature these key items. One is a teriyaki sauce, the formula for which they will not disclose; can you say "pineapple"? Another is the concept called a plate lunch, combining a meat with two starchy sides: macaroni salad and two scoops of rice. A third is chicken katsu, or cutlet, in which a chicken breast is coated with panko crumbs and fried.
Hawaiian BBQ restaurants typically feature these key items: teriyaki sauce; a plate lunch, with a meat and two starchy sides; and chicken katsu.
Chicken katsu is usually the bestseller at Hawaiian BBQ restaurants, followed closely by Kalbi short ribs and barbecue beef. Other dishes on the menu include fried shrimp and fried whitefish, all priced on the cheap at about $8 per person.
But the most notable menu item is Spam musubi, which combines sushi-like rice with thick slices of seared Spam, all wrapped up in a sheet of seaweed.
Despite the Hawaiian pedigree, most Aloha Hawaiian BBQ outlets in the U.S. are Korean-owned, according to a staffer at the store in Tustin, California. Because the chain is so fragmented, it's hard to determine exactly how many branches there are, but Alohas can be found on the West Coast in California and Las Vegas, with a smattering on the East Coast.
In the late 2000s, there were branches in Katy and Humble, Texas, which have since closed. Currently, there are two branches in El Paso, and someone related to that franchisee is launching in Dallas; he did not return calls.
A similar concept with Spam musubi and chicken katsu, called L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, opened in Plano in 2008. The other Hawaiian option is Roy's, a more high-end fusion concept that's been open in Plano for 10 years and is the only Roy's in Texas.