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  • Elle Abernathy

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill: Interior Design Details

Get details on the Hawaiian Bros Island Grill exterior, logo, and food in our previous post, Hawaiian Bros Island Grill: Thoughtful Design. As a Hawaiian theme in the Midwest, the overarching challenge was how to create a tropical island restaurant without it looking too kitschy.

We have successfully overcome that challenge by keeping the overall aesthetic modern, light, and airy. We did this through the use of color, textures, and patterns.

Color Palette

Most of the color palette consists of neutral colors—a lot of whites and grays—and then in key areas we added pops of turquoise and green. We want to make sure that when customers walk in, the environment feels open and airy, like a shack on the beach where you feel the breeze and relax. We create this effect with high ceilings that are painted white.

When you walk in, there is a custom, hand-painted mural on the 20-foot wall behind the queue, which is where people line up to order their food. It is the same wave mural as the one on the exterior, mentioned in our previous post. The wave mural's function is wayfinding. It's the first thing people see when they walk in, so they're naturally drawn toward it. We want everything we design to be thought through and created with a purpose.

In the areas where we want to draw attention, we have a pop of color. You can see this at the main wall, where the digital menu board is located. The whole wall is covered with beautiful, blue turquoise, handmade ceramic tile to give off the feel of water, sky, and ocean. It contains all the different blue and green hues you can see in the ocean.

Textures & Patterns

We designed a custom floor and wall tile that emulates a Polynesian tribal pattern found on the custom screens outside, mentioned in our previous post. On the floor, it is functionally used for wayfinding. It directs the customer from the entry, through the queue line, and then from the queue line to the selfserve beverage counter and condiment bar.

Also on the walls, we have a large-scale print. It consists of a modern, abstract take on your typical traditional Hawaiian print, with palm trees and pineapples. This idea is also applied to the fabric on the booth seat backs, where the pattern looks like abstract palm trees.

Many of the textures we use are found in the woods we selected: teak wood, whitewash wood, and warmer woods to add that warm, textural, tropical feel. These textures offset the neutral walls and ceiling.

Other Elements

We have played with the kitschy concept through a sign we designed to go with their “Order Pickup” shelf. We placed those words on a wooden surfboard. The beer taps and the cabinet pulls are small, carved wooden pineapples. The mirrors in the restrooms are also shaped like pineapples, with wood framing. Even the restroom signs were designed with little pineapples on the figures’ heads.

The surfboard concept is also used for the Hawaiian Bros large wooden community table, and it is becoming a staple in all of their restaurants. This feature plays well because a big aspect of their brand is community. The Hawaiian community is very familyoriented and communitydriven. They want to reflect that same vibe in their atmosphere.

There is a mixture of style when it comes to the lighting fixtures: midcentury and modern. Over the large community table, there are natural woven pendants that look like fishing nets. It's that balance between modern and kitschy, how we make it feel modern, clean, sleek, but also fun.

There are more examples we could share about the details. Every single detail is thought through, with a purpose. No detail is too small. The fun part about all of it is that this reflects the overall brand of Hawaiian Bros. They are a client we really enjoy working with!

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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