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  • Elle Abernathy

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill: Thoughtful Design

Thoughtful design can impact a space and help reinforce a brand. Let me illustrate what I mean by sharing how we elevated fastcasual design through brand and overall design.

For my example, I will share our experience with one of our new fastcasual restaurant clients, Hawaiian Bros. We have worked with them for the past three years. Right now, we are working on their fifth buildout around the Kansas City area.


It all starts with the dining exterior. That's the first impression. That's what pulls the customer in. In a way, the exterior design is more important than the interior. If the customer is not somehow drawn to the exterior, then they're not going to take the time to park and walk in the door.

Most of the building is a light, warm gray, or a dark charcoal, accented with darker teak woods that you would see in Hawaii. You can even see thoughtful design applied in little, custom details. We designed custom CNC cut screens for the patio. They have been etched with an abstracted Polynesian tribal print.

For many of Hawaiian Bros buildouts, we contract local Kansas City artists to paint murals. For example, we commissioned students from the Kansas City Art Institute to paint a giant abstract wave on the exterior of the building.

We even think through the vegetation and the plants to be used. With Hawaiian Bros, our goal is to find plants that feel tropical, but can live in the Midwest. It's that balance between design and function. Long grasses and yucca work well.


We started working with Hawaiian Bros right from the getgo when they were two brothers from Oregon coming to Kansas City, with the dream to start a new fastcasual concept. We worked with them through branding their logo and then on how they could implement that branding into their physical space.

Their logo pops with color. We wanted that to stand out. That is why the majority of colors used are neutrals. The neutrals compliment and showcase the logo.

Also, playing with the branding typography, students handpainted a huge mural on the back side of the building that says, "Mahalo." This contributes to creating a Hawaiian feel without it being in your face.


Their food is a point of pride for Hawaiian Bros. It is never frozen, it's handcrafted, and it’s personal. They call their menu choices plates and spend time making each individually. We recognized their approach as being very important to the way we design the exterior, in how it represents them.

Hawaiian Bros puts so much detail and time into their recipes and ingredients. They thoughtfully and intentionally prepare their plates in a way that reflects their brand. It's elevated fastcasual food.

Their customer service is exceptional. Hawaiian Bros’ thoughtfulness in detail and craft doesn’t just go into their food, but the way they prepare it, serve it, and reach their customers. Their delivery is very thought through. We wanted to reflect this in the architecture and design.

It has definitely been a fun process. It has also been a challenging one, because they're new to the restaurant industry. At Clockwork, we’re not afraid to take on a challenge. Sometimes the challenge is the fun part.

If you need thoughtful design that not only functions well for you but also accurately communicates your business to your client, contact us at 816.599.2350 or We look forward to hearing from you.

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