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Ohana Island Kitchen Is A (Not So) Surprise Hit in LoHi

Online reviewers, part of the media and not, rave about the tiny LoHi spot that boasts big flavors

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Hawaiian Guava Cake
Hawaiian Guava Cake

A Summer for  Sliders: In a summer profile by 5280 Magazine, Callie Sumlin urges Denver diners to "go now" to the humble walk-up in LoHi. The succinct menu is crafted in testament to owner Louie Colburn's Japanese-Hawaiian heritage with light, "vibrant, summery fare" like mango-kale-quinoa salad and Spam musubi. Sumlin contends that diners line-up for the kalua pork sliders - complied of "tender pork, a crunchy corn and purple cabbage slaw, and Sriracha aioili" - as soon as they can: "make sure to go soon, as the Colburns haven't quite decided if they'll keep the Ohana window open when the weather gets colder." [5280 Magazine]

The Poke Problem: While diners praise Ohana Island Kitchen for its big flavors, guests that arrive later in the day miss the opportunity to sample the wildly popular and limited ahi poke. On the restaurant's Facebook page, the restaurant addresses this concern and acknowledges their limited amount of tuna allotted each day. Make sure to come early to take a poke at the dish. [Facebook]

On the Local Radar: Nearly all reviewers across social media sing the praises of Ohana Kitchen. However, guests do find an issue with the restaurant's rather limited operations. One Yelp user dubs visiting Ohana Kitchen his "[F]riday lunch religion" and lists the location, minimal menu, quality service, and delectable food as his pros. The same enthusiastic user laments the limited hours and space as his "chief" concern; however, he asserts that this is simply because he "just can't get enough of this place." [Yelp]

A (Sort of) Surprise Hit: Zagat's compiled list of the eight biggest summer restaurant surprises notes that LoHi's Ohana Kitchen isn't necessarily one of the most shocking hits of the summer - "it's the tiniest." However, what the spot lacks in its magnitude it makes up for it "with loads of heart and soul." In addition to the must-try pork sliders, the Zagat team is "just as smitten" with the "lip-smacking" Spam musubi and "unabashedly garlicky" macaroni salad. [Zagat]

News on the Horizon: Writers at The Denver Post are as enamored with the minuscule LoHi restaurant as most online reviewers. However, Bethany Ao is focused on Ohana Island Kitchen's strong culinary potential. Speaking to Regan Colburn, the DP reports that the current space is a "testing bed" to evaluate Denver's demand for Hawaiian cuisine. While the Colburn's are "presently surprised" by their current success, they will relocate to a larger restaurant space by the end of 2016 where people can sit down and "enjoy a hearty Hawaiian meal." [The Denver Post]

Ohana Island Kitchen

2563 15th Street, , CO 80211 (303) 718-6580 Visit Website