A Hands-on Experience at Da Shrimp Hale
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Sister. Sister. Brother. Father. And that’s not all!
Family is the focus at Da Shrimp Hale, which opened at Maui Mall in Kahului on August 15. Siblings Heidi, Heizel and Han Allado co-founded the restaurant and work together daily, along with their dad, more relatives and significant others.
“You see ‘em at home and you see ‘em at work. ‘Oh, you again,’” jokes Han.
While the family may be getting an overload of time together, they’re hoping to motivate others to get in some quality time of their own around the table, without the distractions of mobile devices and smartphones. Hands that might normally be typing or texting will now be too busy peeling crawfish shells, pulling shrimp tails and cracking crab legs.
“Normally we have the kids on the phone waiting for the food, but it’s kinda nice to bring it back to how it used to be before technology was there,” Heidi explains. “Everything is shell-on, head-on, so everything is really a ‘peel-and-eat’ here.”
Customers are offered plastic bibs and gloves as a signature symbol of the restaurant. With paper tablecloths, getting messy is not an issue, and tables turn quickly.
The simple menu includes shrimp, mussels, clams, local crawfish, Kumamoto oysters, Kona dungeness crab and Kona lobster at market prices. Diners choose their seafood, flavors and spice levels, then it gets steamed, mixed up and delivered to the table in a clear plastic bag. Da Shrimp Hale has also offered specials like prime rib and Kona kampachi, which have sold out so quickly, they might start making regular weekly appearances.
In addition to buying local produce and ingredients whenever possible, the Allados plan to feature local musicians at least once a week, and they’re donating to flood recovery efforts at ‘Iao Valley through a crawfish special. Wooden pallets stretch along a wall with signatures from customers, who also provide plenty of feedback on comment cards, titled with this message in pidgin: “Eh, tell us how for do bettah. Bumbye we fix so you come back!”
Da Shrimp Hale is located near Baskin Robbins and Longs Drugs at Maui Mall. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and closes at 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Co-owners Heidi and Heizel spent years as servers, and chef Han cooked at the former Mākena Beach & Golf Resort for 18 years before it shut down in July. He calls this opportunity “a new chapter,” along with a lot of hard work!
“Before, I just clock in and cook. Now it’s everything all at once,” says Han, who makes all the sauces from scratch, “but I love it; I love being in the kitchen!”