When Uptown Cuban restaurant El Libre closed at the end of July, its owners simultaneously announced that an expansion of Auction House Market’s sushi stall Aloha Lei would open in its place. Less than a month later, the couple behind Aloha Lei has opened Aloha Grill & Sushi, billed as “Hawaiian comfort food with a Southern flair.”
The quick flip of 3151 Calhoun Street culminated with Aloha Grill & Sushi’s grand opening this past Friday, August 16. Fittingly, the date is Hawaii Day, a state holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Hawaii’s 1959 admission into the union.
The new restaurant features the sushi and poke offerings from the Aloha Lei stall, but owners Tracey Davenport and Dave Kirtland have also added a Hawaiian-Southern grill menu. Those items include smoked kalua pork served in a breakfast burrito or baguette sandwich, a burger with bacon-pineapple jam, and musubi, a typical Hawaiian snack made with Spam, rice, and nori (seaweed), according to Gambit. The restaurant serves breakfast, and according to Facebook, served a brunch on Sunday featuring chicken and pandan waffles.
Aloha Lei began as a stall in Auction House Market when the Warehouse District food hall opened in March 2018. Aloha Grill & Sushi is the first restaurant for Tracey Davenport and her partner and husband, Dave Kirtland. Davenport has worked at Brennan’s and held sushi chef roles at Sun Ray Grill and Metairie’s Conola.
Aloha Grill & Sushi is open daily; Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
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