The popular Hawaiian chain L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has made its way to Sarasota thanks to owners Kim and Gregg Barker.
The chain had its beginnings in Honolulu in 1976 and has more than 200 locations worldwide. Kim retried from a career in nursing to run the restaurant after training at L&L's corporate headquarters in Oahu. According to Kim, in Hawaii, "aloha" is a way of life—a term of love and community. At L&L, says Kim, "Every plate is served with aloha."
The restaurant serves comfort food from the Hawaiian islands, with dishes like barbecued and katsu chicken, barbecued beef, Kalua pork and fried shrimp, all served with rice.
But what would a Hawaiian restaurant be without Spam? During World War II, the canned ham was served to soldiers stationed on the islands and ended up being adopted by the local culture. Today, you can taste a bit of that cultural history at L&L with Spam and eggs, Spam musubi or Spam noodle soup.
To bring the aloha spirit to Sarasota, the Barkers reached out to Booker High School art students, who created a mural resembling the view at the end of "Surfboard Alley," a landmark of Waikiki Beach. They also painted 17 surfboards to decorate the shop.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is located at 5445 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, and is open 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. For more info, call (941) 315-9008 or visit the restaurant's website.