After two years of searching, The Hula Girl has found a home.
Mikala Brennan, the founder of the popular food truck Hula Girl, will open her first brick and mortar restaurant in the Village of Shirlington. It's filling the former Aladdin's Eatery space at 4044 Campbell Ave. in the Arlington development.
Brennan began her search for a space in D.C. after operating a successful pop-up in Cleveland Park. "I really tried to find something to suit my needs, but just wasn't finding it," she said. She expanded her search to neighborhoods like Arlington and Alexandria before this opportunity arose: she signs the lease today.
"It's a very friendly place for families and dogs and everyone, and I always thought it'd be a great fit for what I do," she said.
Fans of the food truck will find familiar items like plate lunches and Spam musubi, but the restaurant will also be able to offer more chef-driven dishes. Brennan is excited to experiment with traditional dishes like laulau, which features butterfish and pork belly wrapped in taro and tea leaves.
The restaurant will have a full bar with Hawaiian drinks and a mix of local and Hawaiian beers (she'd love to be able to carry Primo, which she describes as the Natty Boh of her former home).
The restaurant will be 3,600 square feet in size, with a retro design courtesy of local firm Hapstak Demetriou. There's room for 110 seats and 25 more on the patio. "The design has some 50s and 60s inspiration with pops of whimsy here and there," she said.
Brennan will make a return trip to Hawaii to conduct research for the restaurant. A fall opening is the goal.