Hula's Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz, photo by Citibeach

New Hula’s Location in Santa Cruz

Hula's Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz, photo by Citibeach
Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz, photo by Citibeach

I’m absolutely tickled to see pictures of the new location of Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Bar in Santa Cruz on this thread on Tiki Central. My visit last year to the original location, which is still pulling in the local crowds in Monterey, was a revelation. The space was a triple threat of great decor, great drinks, and even more shockingly: great food. Having grown up in the epicure’s heaven that is Seattle, my standards for food are pretty darned high, and Hula’s is the only Tiki-themed joint that has had food I considered truly wonderful.

In my trip report from last August, I passed along the news from Hula’s co-owner Chris that they were hoping to open a second location in a new city, with a stronger focus on creating an elegant tiki environment (the original location started out more generic/surf-themed). I crossed my fingers back then that they would choose a city near mine, and I got my wish — their new location is in Santa Cruz, and the drive there is the same distance as my drive to Forbidden Island, in the opposite direction.

The owners have recruited some assistance from all corners in developing the space’s decor, including help from Bosko, Oceanic Arts, ‘Onatiki, Polynesiac and Tiki Tony. They’ve consulted with Forbidden Island’s Martin Cate in developing the bar. The pictures look extraordinarily inviting, and I envision a visit in my very near future. While I’m there, I’ll get the latest scoop on the related location in the works for Denver — the latest report on Tiki Central is that it’s to be called “The Hut” and work is starting next month on a location on South Broadway.

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