by Rob Keys
Posted 12/7/2012 08:48 am
Updated 6 months ago
Temperatures might be plummeting, but Michael and Shanea Holmbeck are bringing a slice of island life to Northwest Arkansas.
“I’d say 80 percent of the United States of America will never be able to afford to go to Hawaii and see how beautiful it is … so we’re going to bring Hawaii here,” Shanea Holmbeck said.
The Holmbecks are doing that via Hawaiian Brian’s, a newly opened restaurant in Fayetteville’s Evelyn Hills Shopping Center. It opened Nov. 27 after a successful run of almost four months at the Yacht Club on College, an area along College Avenue designated for mobile vendors.
“We just got so big, so fast,” Shanea Holmbeck said. “It was a good incubator.”
Based on the 1 percent hotel-motel-restaurant taxes collected by the Fayetteville Advertising & Promotion Commission, Hawaiian Brian’s had combined revenue of $3,797 in August and September, its first two months of service and the most recent months for which tax totals are available.
The Holmbecks describe their cuisine as “Hawaiian home cooking,” and the menu is dominated by pork and chicken dishes. No entrée is more than $8.
“I was raised by a family that loved to cook, and it was so good I just had to learn how to cook it,” said Michael Holmbeck, who lived in Hawaii for 17 years.
Hawaiian Brian’s new home is about 2,700 SF and seats 49. The Holmbecks are the only current employees, but plan to add a small staff to help expedite orders at the walk-up counter.
Other plans include a large mural featuring the restaurant’s logo, family photos from Holmbeck’s time in Hawaii and a sand pit-style karaoke area.
“You can’t touch the microphone unless your shoes are off,” Shanea Holmbeck said with a laugh. “We’re going to shack it up in here a little bit — tiki hut-style. It’s going to be fun.
“We want to serve up happiness.”
Holmbeck said the couple also plans to apply for a beer and wine license in the near future. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.