Chow Bella

More Action on Central: Hula's Modern Tiki

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for neat old buildings -- especially ones that house restaurants -- so imagine my delight when I discovered that somebody leased that far-out building in the middle of the Haus/Movies On Central/soon-to-be Lola Coffee strip (4700 N. Central). You know, the one with the 18-foot-high hexagonal window facing the street? Yeah, that place.

Brothers Chris and Craig Delaney are teaming up with their Phoenix-raised friend Dana Mule to open Hula's Modern Tiki, a retro-modern outpost of the Delaneys' two Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room restaurants in Santa Cruz and Monterey, California.

The menu will be pretty close to the existing Hula's menu, which includes island-style poke with macadamia nuts, crispy coconut shrimp rolls, Bali Hai barbecue ribs, Hawaiian fish with several different preparations, burgers, and rice bowls. They aim to do a killer Sunday brunch as well. 

Mule tells me that they looked at about 50 spaces in the last year, and instantly fell in love with the circa 1965 building.

"The landlord has the original certificate of occupancy, which says the first tenant was called Heap's Big Beef," Mule adds.

Chris Delaney's responsible for creating the vibe of Hula's. "It'll be a little bit tiki, not overkill," he says. "We're modernizing it."

As part of the renovation, they'll be adding 1300 square feet of dining space to the nearly 1600-square-foot structure, which will include glass-paned roll-up doors to take advantage of nice weather.

With "fingers crossed," Mule says, they're shooting for a July opening.