Sunday, May 14, 2023

[UPDATE] King's Hawaiian Abandons Plans for East Cobb Restaurant

East Cobb residents looking forward to the opening of a new King's Hawaiian restaurant were met this week with unwelcome news:  It's not happening.  According to East Cobb News, the restaurant, code name "Ohana" and later revealed to be Hello Hilo, abandoned the project despite getting its latest site plan approved in April.  

The 4-1 vote by the Cobb Board of Commissioners on April 18 seemed to pave the way for things to move forward but King's Hawaiian leadership ultimately decided the conditions in the approval were too burdensome.  

Stein Investment Group (SIG), an Atlanta-based firm known primary for their Space Shop self-storage facilities, recently opened one such facility in place of the former Park 12 Cinemas which they acquired in 2021.  The firm repurposed the former movie theater for storage units but was in the process left with a surplus of surface parking.  The planned Hello Hilo restaurant was pitched to make use of the excess land and serve as an amenity to the neighborhood.  

Ultimately, and despite the approval, “They said they didn’t feel like they were welcome,” Jason Linscott, a principal with SIG said of King's Hawaiian and their decision to abandon their plans.

While East Cobb area residents may not be getting a new Hello Hilo restaurant, another Atlanta area suburb still is.  The first ever Hello Hilo is currently in the final stages of construction and is actively hiring for several roles at the restaurant in Gainesville in Hall County.  The Gainesville outpost of Hello Hilo is located at 1881 Jesse Jewell Parkway and is about twelve miles from the King's Hawaiian baking facility in Oakwood.  

The new fast-casual restaurant will offer "Hawaii-Inspired Eats & Treats" and offer both inside and outside dining via a covered "lanai" (patio), in addition to a double drive-thru.  The restaurant gets its name from Hilo, Hawaii, where the Taira family, founders of King's Hawaiian, started their breadmaking business more than 70 years ago.   

Hello Hilo will offer "an oasis amidst the bustling intersection with lush greenery and a colorful exterior designed to evoke the architecture of Hawaii’s Big Island. The Hawaii-inspired menu will feature breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, a keiki (kids) menu, fun snacks and drinks, and sweet treats found only at Hello Hilo.

ToNeTo Atlanta contacted a representative for the restaurant who was unable to shed light on a targeted opening, saying only that the restaurant will debut "soon."  

Are you surprised to see King Hawaiian pull the plug on their planned East Cobb restaurant?  Do you plan to travel to Gainesville to visit Hello Hilo once it opens?  If the company does open another Hello Hilo in metro Atlanta, where would you like to see them open?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

LOL of course uppity East Cobb is not welcoming. the neighborhood is full of NIMBYs.

Anonymous said...

I think that Stein Investment Group/ King's Hawaiian did everything in their power to open a restaurant at this location.
Cobb Zoning turned down a small food store based on the feedback from the area,

Work will have me traveling to Gainesville to try out the new restaurant. Wish them success!

BK said...

Maybe they could shift the Kings Hawaiian to the Sprayberry crossing redevelopment to keep it within the general area. The Lidl got nixed there as well, but the development owns the former subtrust back and could likely put a drive through restaurant out there without issue.

Anonymous said...

They’re still building the restaurant

Anonymous said...

Would love a Hello Hilo in Alpharetta in Windward!!!! We miss Hawaii!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder when the Gainesville location is opening ? I'm so excited , I can't wait to try it !

Anonymous said...

It looks like any day now

Anonymous said...

I wish they would consider moving into the old Harry's plaza on Roswell rd. It would be a lot of space. I rather see a Hawaiian eatery instead of another storage unit or fitness center.

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