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Folks are Calling This Vegas Restaurant Chain the ‘Hawaiian Chipotle’

Folks are calling this spot the “Hawaiian Chipotle!” The place in question is Makai Pacific Island Grill, which you might have seen in a few viral TikToks recently. 

Makai has been in the Las Vegas area since 2016 and has quickly grown into a chain with four locations. They are all about building custom bowls of Hawaiian barbecue favorites, and the number of possible combinations are truly insane.

So what makes this place worthy of the moniker “Hawaiian Chipotle?” There’s a couple of reasons: First, like Chipotle, this is an assembly line style fast casual spot. That means you go down the line and pick what you want in your bowl, and there’s a ton of fresh and crowd favorite Hawaiian food options.

You start by picking a base of brown rice, white rice, or salad, and from there, there’s a ton of protein options and sides to choose from. Classic proteins available are katsu chicken, teriyaki chicken, and Pulehu steak. They also have more unique offerings like mochiko chicken wings that you can add on top. 

Makai is also mixing two different kinds of poke fresh daily: shoyu poke and spicy poke. They come in little cups but you can also ask for the rice to be flattened, and even get the poke lightly seared and scattered on top. 

For sides, you can add on classic mac salad or a tossed salad, or veggies like kimchi coleslaw, corn, and edamame. Combine together your base, protein, and side options, and there’s a lot of different custom bowls you can make.

The other big reason Makai is compared to Chipotle is how fast it’s starting to grow. They just recently went from a single location in the Vegas area to four. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking or as expansive as the actual Chipotle, but it’s a starting point from which Makai could potentially grow and spread locations to anywhere else.

In the meantime, it’s definitely earning the title several have given it of the “Hawaiian Chipotle.”

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Hit-Or-Miss

King’s Hawaiian’s Own Restaurant Is Full of Must-Try Island Favorites

Many of us have had the pleasure of biting into the warmth and sweetness of King’s Hawaiian bread. It’s a simple pleasure that never gets old and figures to stand the test of time given its level of fan loyalty and overall deliciousness. Such longevity is a hallmark of King’s Hawaiian, as it originated back in 1950 on the Big Island of Hawaii, founded by baker Robert Taira. Fast forward to 1988 in Torrance, California, when the fist King’s Hawaiian restaurant opened its doors adjacent to the bakery that was established there in 1977.

Stepping inside the King’s Hawaiian restaurant is like walking into Robert Taira’s vision of Big Island warmth brought to you via Hawaiian cuisine favorites and the brand’s signature baked goods and pastries. The vibes are all here, ready to be served up with signature hospitality and enthusiasm.

Diners here are treated to a variety of Hawaiian dishes and trademark King’s Hawaiian goods, whether it be the Luau Platter consisting of taro-wrapped lau lau pork, huli huli chicken, Kalua pork, lomi salmon, and chicken long rice or the beloved and vibrant Paradise Delight Cake, a three layer rainbow chiffon cake filled with whipped cream and topped with guava, passion, and lime fruit glaze.

Other Island favorites like saimin, musubi, and Portuguese sausage are also readily available, treating eager palates to the very essence of Island eats. After a hearty and satisfying meal, make sure to grab that iconic orange bag of sweet bread on the way out to complete the King’s Hawaiian experience.

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#foodbeast Beer Cravings FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED

Phoenix Brewery Hosts A Complete Hawaiian Luau On Sundays, Whole Roasted Pig Included

You can use a lot of different things to make beer, including fruits, milk, and even coffee. But it’s rare to find a brew that’s been made using Hawaiian punch.

Arizona-based OHSO Brewery & Distillery has done just that to celebrate Hawaiian Foods Week. The “Hawaiian Punched” beer has the bright red color of the popular juice, and for Foodbeast Editor-in-Chief Elie Ayrouth, it was a great balance of the punch’s flavor without an overbearing sweetness. He described it as “juicy,” with sweetness to start and a finish that brought it back from punch to beer. “Extremely session-able, nothing like a cider,” he said.

OHSO isn’t stopping there, though, as they’ve constructed a couple of Aloha State-themed dishes to go with their fruity brew.

One of these items is the Big Island Moco Burger, a hefty tribute to the traditional Hawaiian Loco Moco. A burger patty, fried egg, gravy, and SPAM are all stuffed into a King’s Hawaiian Hamburger bun.

There’s also the Kilauea Pig sandwich, using marinated and roasted pork that falls apart at a mere touch. OHSO is cooking up whole hogs to make this sandwich happen, so you’re apt to get the best of every cut in a single sandwich.

That pork gets drenched in a mixture of King’s Hawaiian Big Island Lava and Kona Coffee BBQ sauces. All of that and a pineapple slaw are then tucked into a King’s Hawaiian bun.

Both items go great with the Hawaiian Punched Beer, but OHSO has two other island-themed brews on tap that you can choose from as well. There’s the Beach Ale, a Blonde Grapefruit Ale from Barrio Brewing Co., and the Big Swell IPA, made by Maui Brewing Co. out in Hawaii.

All of these items will be available at OHSO’s locations during Hawaiian Foods Week. It’s a great way to get your luau on in the middle of the Arizona desert.

Photos by Elie Ayrouth


Created in partnership with King’s Hawaiian

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An Intimate Look At Huli-Huli Sausage, A Hawaiian-Inspired Dish Now On EVERY Dog Haus Menu

In Hawaiian, the term “Huli” means to turn, referring to the constant flipping of meat while barbecuing. That concept is very much alive in the succulent Huli-Huli chicken sausages that hot dog experts Dog Haus is grilling to celebrate Hawaiian Foods Week.

To commemorate the weeklong dedication to Hawaiian fare, King’s Hawaiian is teaming up with restaurants like Dog Haus to showcase tastes from the Aloha State. Dog Haus has opted to go for Huli-Huli chicken, or Hawaiian barbeque chicken, as their inspiration.

Dog Haus’ Würstmacher, and Food Network personality, Adam Gertler teamed up with Top Chef season 2 winner Ilan Hall to create this one-of-a-kind sausage recipe. Their collaboration invokes the flavors of Hawaiian teriyaki to bring the chain’s tribute to Huli-Huli chicken to life.

Ginger, garlic, soy, and sake permeate the sausage, which blends chicken with pork belly to provide extra juiciness and flavor. The sausage is grilled to perfection, continually turned over like Huli-Huli chicken to ensure even grill marks.

It’s then packed into a trio of grilled King’s Hawaiian buns and covered with toppings that represent the tastes and textures of Hawaiian cuisine. These include King’s Hawaiian Sweet Island Ginger Sauce, bouillonnaise (a seasoned mayo created just for Dog Haus’ Huli-Huli), pineapple and jalapeño relish, crispy fried onions, and scallions.

The balance of all the major tastes – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and umami – brings out the best of Hawaii’s flavors in this scrumptious chef-created sausage sandwich.

Gertler and Dog Haus will be cranking out their Huli-Huli sausages well past Hawaiian Foods week. They’re already available at all Dog Haus locations, and will stay there through June 30th. $1 from the purchase of every Huli-Huli benefits No Kid Hungry.


Created in partnership with King’s Hawaiian