If you’re looking for an escape from the snow without taking a full vacation, you can find a tropical oasis at the Luau Party happening at North Side Grille in Hudson on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and Thursday, Feb. 23. The restaurant and staff will be decked out in island flair, and the menu will feature Caribbean-inspired food and cocktail specials along with a tap takeover by Kona Brewing Co. from Hawaii.
This is the restaurant’s third annual Luau Party, and owner Roger Soulard said it gets more popular and more elaborate every year.
“It’s around that time when everyone gets those winter blues, especially in late February when we get hit with those late snowstorms. People are bummed out and tired of shoveling,” he said. “So we figured it’d be a good way to give people a break from all that and cheer up our staff and patrons in a summery way.”
The menu will include appetizer, entree and dessert specials, including dishes like coconut lime chicken wings, coconut lime shrimp, pineapple meatballs, honey jerk pork sliders, mahi mahi and key lime pie.
“The chefs make it a full menu,” Soulard said. “You could do a full-course Caribbean meal if you wanted.”
The bartenders will be mixing up special cocktails with names like Flamingo Punch, Mermaid Water and Island Living, which will have coconut, pineapple and other tropical flavors and will even be served in coconut cups.
For beer drinkers, there will be a tap takeover with Hawaiian brews by Kona Brewing Co., including the Big Wave Golden Ale, Longboard Island Lager and, for the first time at North Side Grille, the Hanalei Island IPA, which features flavors of passionfruit, guava and orange.
Soulard works with his staff to research Caribbean cuisine and develop new menu items for the party each year, which include some authentic Caribbean dishes and some Caribbean-inspired dishes with a North Side twist.
“We try to rethink it every year and try not to do duplicates,” he said. “We’re a neighborhood restaurant; we bring in a lot of the same people from the neighborhood, so we want to keep things fresh for them and for our staff so that they’re enthused about it.”
In addition to the food and drink specials, the restaurant will be transformed into a tropical atmosphere with buckets of sand, tiki torches, artificial palm trees and Caribbean-style music. The staff will be dressed in island-themed garb, and patrons are encouraged to don their own Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops or other summertime apparel.
“You’d be surprised how many people come in wearing sandals, even with snow on the ground,” Soulard said. “Last year we had a guy come in with a grass skirt and coconut bra. People get really excited about it.”