New restaurant to open in former Bubba Gump space

KAILUA-KONA — Months after Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. closed its doors on Waterfront Row in Kailua-Kona, the company behind Huggo’s and Lava Lava Beach Club is making plans to open a new restaurant there.

At the end of last year, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. closed its doors at location where it operated for about 20 years. The Kailua Village Design Commission is scheduled to consider this evening an application from Luana Hospitality Group to renovate the space for its new restaurant: Kai Eats and Drinks.

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The hospitality company also signed a lease with Honolulu-headquartered Watumull Properties Corp., which owns Waterfront Row in Kailua Village.

Eric von Platen Luder, a principal of Luana Hospitality Group, which he owns with his husband, Scott Dodd, said they have something a little different planned for Kai Eats and Drinks.

“It’s a different perspective of the bay, different views, you’re a different closeness to the ocean,” he said. “It’s a really, really incredible spot.”

The restaurant will specialize in handmade burgers, pizzas and tacos with menu development underway, von Platen Luder said.

They spent the past couple of months experimenting with everything from pizza doughs and burger grinds, with a challenge to their chefs to develop innovative ideas for the new restaurant.

Depending on space, the company also hopes to have between 40 and 50 brews on tap along with a full bar. The restaurant will also maintain the location’s retail space for marketing logo wear.

Where possible, von Platen Luder said, they plan to use local suppliers and put local ingredients on customers’ plates.

The application filed with the Kailua Village Design Commission outlines planned renovations to the space, including replacing the makai windows and doors with roll-up screens, as well as replacement of guardrails at the retail entry and installation of new exit doors.

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The restaurant should be able to open later this year and will employ between 100 and 130 people.

Email Cameron Miculka at cmiculka@westhawaiitoday.com.

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