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Restaurant review: Hawaiian Bros brings island feel to Denton

Restaurant review: Hawaiian Bros brings island feel to Denton

Restaurant review: Hawaiian Bros brings island feel to Denton
July 08
16:30 2021

In mid-June, Denton was graced with the presence of Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, located at 2220 S. Loop 288. Hawaiian Bros is a new drive-thru/fast-casual restaurant that serves Hawaiian meats, sides and desserts, and it was unlike any place I’ve eaten at before, but I’ve been hooked since my first visit.

Let’s start with the customer experience. I’ve been to Hawaiian Bros twice, once dine-in and once drive-thru, so I can attest to both experiences. When I went through the drive-thru, I pulled onto the property to be greeted by an employee outside directing traffic. He told me where to turn in to be a drive-thru customer.

Only a few days after opening, I was expecting to wait in a line wrapped around the building, but the efficient process proved me wrong. Once I got into the drive-thru, I was greeted by a girl about my age who took my order (Chick-fil-A style, where she stood outside and took my order on foot instead of through a speaker). She was as friendly as could be and made sure I understood the menu as a first-timer. I then pulled around to the window and got my order in a matter of minutes. No complaints on the drive-thru experience.

The next time I went, I opted to go inside to see what the interior is all about. I walked in and was surprised by the relatively small size of the restaurant, mainly because it was busy and the area where you order was pretty crowded. I then went to one of the ordering stations and placed my order. At the station, there’s a tablet with the menu on it so you can place your order without having to talk to anyone, making it a super easy encounter. After placing my order I just hung around the area waiting to hear my number called, and it was ready within a matter of minutes. Aside from the hectic entrance area, its customer service and wait times have my approval.

Now to talk about the most important part of the experience: the food. Hawaiian Bros has a pretty simple menu, with almost all of its meals consisting of a meat or seasoned vegetables for the entree, then rice and macaroni salad. I’m a relatively picky eater, so I had to look for the safest way out the first time, so I went for the classic-sized plate lunch with the Huli Huli Chicken, rice and pineapple. The Huli Huli Chicken is Hawaiian Bros’ signature dish, which is marinated teriyaki grilled chicken. And it was excellent. I got a side of teriyaki sauce to dip it in, making it the perfect entree. The rice was just plain white rice, but it tasted great and complemented the chicken well. The pineapple side was good too, but it was just sliced pineapple, so I’m sure you’re already familiar with how that was — nothing too exciting. I got the pineapple instead of the macaroni salad, but the macaroni salad is one of the Hawaiian Bros staples, so if you think you even might like it, I would give it a shot. My friend who I went with got the macaroni salad and I tried a bite of it and although I’m not a cold pasta person, it was crafted well.

The second time I went, I decided to branch out a little bit while still treading lightly by ordering the Molokai Chicken. This chicken is listed on the menu as “Sweet & spicy perfectly grilled with a little heat,” which sums it up perfectly. It’s not very spicy by any means, but it does have that extra kick that the Huli Huli chicken doesn’t have. I got the same sides, the rice and pineapple, and the meal worked well. Also, my first time going to Hawaiian Bros, the employee told me that downloading the Hawaiian Bros app gets you free Dole soft-serve, so I made an account and redeemed it this time. The soft-serve is a great way to finish the meal and satisfy any sweet tooth cravings, and with pineapple and strawberry flavors, it rounds out the Hawaiian experience (and it was especially nice getting it for free). It’s also dairy-free, fat-free and gluten-free, so it can accommodate a variety of needs and it didn’t leave my stomach hurting like normal ice cream does.

Last but not least, let’s look at the value. The classic-sized plate runs for $8.50, which while it may be on the higher end of fast food costs, is a pretty good price for the amount of food you get. I will note, however, that the small size is $2 less at $6.50, but it’s pretty much half the amount of food, so the small isn’t the best deal by comparison. The large runs for $11.50, and I haven’t seen it for myself, but based on the online description it looks like it has a substantial amount more than the regular. Also, the rewards program is pretty good. You get $3.50 off for every $70 you spend, which isn’t amazing, but I’m sure it’ll add up with a few more visits.

Overall, Hawaiian Bros has secured a spot on my restaurant rotation. The customer service, simple but fulfilling menu, substantial portion sizes and all together great food make this place one that everyone needs to try, and next time you find yourself near Loop 288, I would highly recommend giving it a shot.

Featured Image: Outside of new Hawaiian Bros Restaurant in Denton, Texas on July 2, 2021. Image by Laura Nunez 

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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