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The making of a tiki bar – behind the scenes at Grass Skirt Tiki Room

Anne Evans Anne Evans The making of a tiki bar – behind the scenes at Grass Skirt Tiki RoomA tropical paradise with the hula girl in front of the waterfall feature. Photo by Jim Renauld.
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The Cocktails

“Grass Skirt is the only place I know of in town that people can get a real Mai Tai, with house-made orgeat and fresh juice,” says Owens. “We have two on the menu right now, the Grass Skirt Mai Tai and the Tikiphile Mai Tai, which has higher-end rums and orange liqueur than the Grass Skirt version.

The Tikiphile Mai Tai (left) and the Coconaut. Photos by Jim Renaud.

Thatcher has been an amateur mixologist working almost solely on tropical cocktails now for about eleven years. So when the group needed help with drinks, he knew what he could do.

“The Kahiki cocktails were an inspiration and starting point,” says Thatcher. “We did try to give a nod to the east out of respect for the old gal. Some of the drinks should remind any former Kahiki patron of the days when she still stood proudly on Broad.”

The menu of cocktails are modernized versions of classics crafted with fresh ingredients, premium rums, house made syrups and infusions. Owens’ personal favorite classic tiki drink on Grass Skirt’s menu (or anywhere, really) is the Coconaut: fresh lime juice, cream of coconut and dark rum over crushed ice.

“That was the only non-negotiable drink for me on the first menu, because every single ingredient in there makes me wildly happy, and how they come together is amazing,” she says. “I hope to eventually offer the Flaming Coconaut Re-entry, which is the same drink with a flaming lime garnish!”

Tiki cocktail mixologist Matt “Kuku Ahu” Thatcher (far right) demonstrating his magic in the kitchen of Grass Skirt. Photo by Carmen Owens.

“One thing we are certainly not short of is ideas,” says Thatcher. Later on, “you can expect to see some very wild and exceptional new tropicals coming from the Grass Skirt.”

Owens’ favorite drink that was created for Grass Skirt is the Caramelized Pineapple-Coffee Grog. “It’s a house-made caramelized pineapple-coffee rum infusion with sugar syrup, bitters, pineapple and fresh lime juices,” she says. “There’s a lot of both sweet and sour ingredients, but they end up creating a great balance of flavors.

The Food

Grass Skirt will open with a limited menu. The most popular items currently are definitely the Spam & Swiss sandwiches. They’re served on mini Hawaiian rolls with spicy Chinese mustard and caramelized green onions.

“We’re getting great responses on all the food right now, especially the Li’l Kahuna Hawaiian burgers, crab rangoon and sweet potato wedges with spicy teriyaki mayo,” says Owens.

For your dining pleasure:  Spam & Swiss with caramelized green onions and spicy Chinese mustard on Hawaiian sweet rolls, Sweet Potato Wedges with spicy teriyaki mayo, and Edamame with Sriracha salt and black pepper. Photo by Jim Renaud.

Upcoming menu items that she’s really excited about are: Loko Moko, a traditional Hawaiian dish which is burgers over rice with mushroom gravy and a fried egg, and Polynesian Poutine, which is sweet potato wedges topped with fresh cheese curds and mushroom gravy.

You’ll also find a few other appetizers – pork egg rolls and veggie spring rolls. The kitchen will be making a few signature sauces.

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