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Grass Skirt Tiki Room Closing as Owner Focuses on New Popup

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Grass Skirt Tiki Room Closing as Owner Focuses on New Popup
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Downtown’s Grass Skirt Tiki Room is closing later this month, but it’s just the beginning for co-owner Carmen Owens. After seven years of running a full time bar and restaurant, Owens is ready for a concept offering a little more flexibility: a popup. 

Grass Skirt will serve its last meal on Saturday, August 24, making way for SheCreature Cocktails, a new tiki popup bar setting up at Ace of Cups this fall. Though similar in its tiki style, SheCreature takes on a darker, more mysterious and nautical persona than Grass Skirt. 

Realizing she couldn’t do Grass Skirt and SheCreature at the same time, Owens decided to dive into a project that was smaller, giving her more control and the ability to get experimental. She sees restaurants as more of an art form than an eternal obligation, and though people tend to get upset at restaurant closures, she says along with SheCreature, there are plenty of places offering a tiki experience.

“There’s so much tiki now, and that’s so exciting,” says Owens. “There’s tiki popups and daiquiri popups, Tiki Week. It’s really exciting, and it feels like we’re not leaving anybody in the lurch. We’re just keeping it going in a different space with a little less permanence.”

Owens notes that popups are an increasingly appealing option for restauranteurs looking for more flexibility, or looking to forego the overhead involved in a brick and mortar. 

All of the elements are still coming together, but Owens promises a cocktail-centric experience offering drinks like Mai Tais, Zombies and Sneaky Tikis. Much of the staff from Grass Skirt will be helping to develop the menu at SheCreature. Owens says she looks forward to having her team there to explore different flavor profiles through cocktails.

SheCreature will start on the Ace of Cups patio, complementing the fare coming out of the Ray Ray’s food truck outside. Depending on its success, it could be headed for a semi-permanent setup inside.

Owens’ partnership with Ace of Cups owner Marcy Mays came naturally, as the two have teamed up before on the Short North bar, Surly Girl, open from 2005-2015. The two are friends that help with each other’s bars often, and Owens considers Ace of Cups her “second home.”

Grass Skirt will have a streamlined menu and different hours for the next month. Effective immediately, they’re open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Those interested can catch Owens slinging cocktails at the Hula Hop on Saturday, August 10. More information is available on the event page.

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