Lunch shouldn’t be a grind

Hawaiian Grindz is a quaint restaurant founded in 2011 by former Hawaii residents Sean and Cheryl Ronan. Located on 434 across from the Wawa, Hawaiian Grindz’s tropical atmosphere and authentic cuisine convince you that your so-called tropical paradise in Florida is suddenly inadequate compared to the bona fide tropical paradise that is Hawaii.

The menu consists of authentic Hawaiian food, as their name would suggest, at a reasonable price, even by a high school student’s standards. A plate of mochiko chicken, which is just fried chicken but better, costs $9, while an order of kalua pig, which is like pulled pork, costs $8. From ribs to chicken to shrimp to salmon, even the pickiest of eaters can find something.

Besides convenient pricing, Hawaiian Grindz offers a very individualized atmosphere. You don’t feel served; you feel treated. It’s like going over to a close friend’s house for dinner. The first time I went, Cheryl Ronan spoke with my family and I for probably about 15 minutes, telling us all about Hawaii and life there, why they came to Florida, and asked us about our lives and seemed genuinely interested in everything we had to say. At most places I would feel uncomfortable with the owner talking to me for that long, but Ronan is one of those people you can just easily talk to.

There seems to be an unspoken law that a good atmosphere automatically makes food better. Burgers taste better outside with friends than inside with your parents, pizza tastes better when shared with a group than eating it all alone, and barbeque tastes best right after a football game. This may be the case for Hawaiian Grindz, but I doubt it. You could serve their food outside in the pouring rain and it would still be just as good. However, the staff hospitality and atmosphere definitely adds to the experience.

The one problem with Hawaiian Grindz, is its location. For most people, 434 is too far away for a quick bite to eat. People might not want to take the time to drive out there, but trust me, it is worth it.