KONA Kitchen & Bar in Downtown Hollywood will celebrate its grand opening Sat., May 11 in true island fashion with live reggae rock music and the distinctive Caribbean fusion cuisine that diners have been praising since the establishment opened its doors March 1 at 1900 Harrison Street.
Proprietors Kerwayne Clough and Oreth Smith, Jamaica natives who first met in South Florida 15 years ago, have combined experience in the restaurant, bar and event industries. Together with classically trained Chef Llordell Taylor, a fellow Jamaican, they have created a culinary experience characterized by an eclectic menu, unique flavors and entertainment offerings.
The menu consists of original recipes created by KONA’s well-traveled chef and distinguished by their various influences, including Caribbean, Italian and American cuisines. The braised Jamaican-style oxtail ($20), for example, served over hearty pappardelle pasta with an in-house jerk Alfredo sauce, combines Caribbean and Italian flavors.
“We take a little bit from different cultures and meld them into Caribbean dishes.” Clough said. “The food is great, but it’s also food that you won’t see elsewhere. We cater to the kind of crowd that yearns for new flavors every time.”
As for the entertainment, there’s a DJ playing a range of music genres during Friday happy hour and Sunday brunch. Karaoke will soon be featured on Thursdays for Ladies Night, as will a live jazz combo one Saturday a month, and a monthly comedy show.
“It’s more than just sit down, eat, leave,” Clough said. “You’re not just eating dinner but enjoying dinner and the atmosphere. That’s the vibe we want to create.”
The May 11 grand opening will feature an acoustic performance by the Aces and Kings Trio, as well as complimentary vodka shots for patrons and 20 percent off all menu items for Hollywood residents. (Hollywood residents normally receive 10 percent off regular-priced menu items.)
KONA’s menu features Caribbean fried snapper ($20); Chef Lo Lobster Tail & Shrimp Kona ($17); lobster bites with mac and cheese ($16); shrimp with festivals (Caribbean dumplings) ($10); chicken wings ($9, $12) with sweet, sweet-heat or heat sauce that customers crave; and “jerk pit” selections: 10-oz. rib eye ($20), salmon ($20) and two chicken choices ($13, $15).
The menu also includes sides such as Jamaican bammy fries (cassava cakes), rice and peas, and tostones (Caribbean fried green plantains), as well as salads and desserts. Chicken and waffles, lobster waffles, omelets and unlimited mimosas are among the Sunday brunch offerings.
KONA has full bar service, with signature cocktails including mimosas infused with pineapple juice and blue curacao ($12) and a concoction of rum and Jamaican ginger beer called K.O. Beer ($13). Happy hour is from 4 to 7 pm weekdays and extends to closing time on Friday for government employees and state-licensed professionals with ID.
Like its menu, the restaurant’s name is a combination of components – an acronym for the first names of its two owners, Clough’s daughter Nyla and Smith’s daughter Adriana, with a nod to the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Clough said the historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district is the ideal location for his new establishment because of Hollywood’s pro-business attitude and opportunity for growth.
“The City is embracing businesses, and we like the plans that it has,” he said. “We see that Hollywood is transitioning, and we’re excited because we want to be a part of that transition.”
KONA Kitchen & Bar is open from 3 to 10 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 3 pm to midnight Friday and Saturday. A 51-seat upstairs lounge with TVs is also available for private parties. For more information, call 954-534-9972 or visit kona-kitchen-bar.business.site.