Asheville – Aloha Asheville! A Hawaiian-Texan inspired barbeque joint just opened in the Grove Arcade’s developing “restaurant row.” Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill is a sister restaurant to The Fish and The Hog, located in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Separated by 4,500 miles, both ventures were founded by Lisa Vann.
Vann founded the restaurant that is now The Fish and The Hog in 2006 on the Big Island of Hawaii. Lisa and her partner, Ben Krueger, moved to Asheville from Hawaii, and return to the Big Island throughout the year, operating both restaurants at the same time. The decision to move to Asheville was driven by their daughters graduating high school in Hawaii and choosing to attend universities on the east coast. Ben is originally from the Pacific Northwest area in the San Juan islands and Lisa is from Toronto. Both have a deep appreciation for the outdoors and mountain living, so Asheville was a great fit for their personal and professional lives.
“We relocated to Asheville in the fall of 2019. Originally, we planned on taking a few months off to learn about and enjoy Asheville before working on opening Huli Sue’s. Due to Covid, that timeline was tossed out the window and here we are opening two years later,” says Pitmaster and Co-Owner Krueger.
Huli Sue’s blends southern food with island cuisine. Texas-style barbeque is paired with island-style fresh fish dishes, seasonal vegetables and country cakes and pies, “with an emphasis on tropical bright flavors and good old fashion scratch cooking processes.”
“For Asheville we’ve added a Huli style grilled chicken, Mochiko fried chicken and have added a section on the menu for Hawaiian style mixed plate dishes that are served over rice with a side of Hawaiian style macaroni salad,” says Ben. “We’re using local companies for our buns and hoagies, some cheeses and meats and some local fish.”
A warm, honey-colored, full-service bar serves beers, ciders, fresh fruit juices and tropical cocktails. The restaurant teamed up with Kona Kaffee Farm on the big island to sell their own blend of kona coffee with packaging adorned with Huli Sue’s signature olapa dancer.
Menu items include smash-house burgers, signature BBQ dishes and seafood. Pair the cheddar & green chile cornbread with the Mochiko fried chicken and grilled pineapple.
A release from the restaurant team described the décor of the restaurant as “inviting and unpretentious” with an “airy dining space reminiscent of breezy seaside gathering locales.” The venue features two-story high ceilings, exposed aged concrete walls, cane backed chairs and tables adorned with fresh flowers.
Huli Sue’s strives to greet staff and guests with a great sense of southern hospitality and “the all-encompassing aloha spirit of Hawai’i.”
“Using only the highest quality food sources with zero shortcuts regardless of effort or cost and an extreme dedication to detail is paramount to our success,” Krueger says.
Huli Sue’s BBQ & Grill is now open at the Grove Arcade at 1 Page Ave., Suite 150 in Asheville. Business hours are Thursday through Monday from 12pm to 8pm. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.