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A Taste of Hawaii at Aloha Grill

You choose to spend your winters on the Gulf Coast. Hawaii, thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean, just isn’t a viable alternative.

But Snowbirds visiting Northwest Florida need not book a transcontinental flight or Pacific cruise for the opportunity to experience a taste of native Hawaiian cuisine.
Paul and Deborah Palpallatoc (pronounced papa-lotto) have brought Hawaii to the South in the form of Aloha Grill in Gulf Breeze. Snowbirds have discovered the eclectically and authentically decorated restaurant located in a small strip shopping center near Tiger Point.
aloha_grill_owners“We are a Hawaiian flavors restaurant,” explains Deborah Palpallatoc, whose in-laws once lived on the islands. “The foods we have here are foods
we have been cooking for many years with family. This is the food we cook when we get together with friends. We decided we’d like to share it with everybody.”
Aloha Grill’s menu appeals to locals and curious Snowbirds alike who enjoy trying something unique. Each dish is meticulously prepared with all the love and attention native Hawaiians put into the art of cooking.
“We’ve had a number of Snowbirds who have stopped in on the way to Destin or Panama City,” Deborah said. “One couple parked their RV right in our parking lot. Lots of people who come in have either been to Hawaii or know somebody who’s from Hawaii. But you don’t have to know anything about Hawaii to enjoy Aloha Grill.”
Locals have quickly found the restaurant and already made repeat visits.
“Aloha Grill is a destination rather than your average restaurant,” said Andrea Story who originally is from Lee’s Summit, Mo., but now lives in Gulf Breeze. “The food is better than your regular Florida Panhandle fare. It’s really quite a different taste than you’ll find around here. The teriyaki and pineapple sauces are the stars of the show!”
On a regular weekday, you’ll be pleased to hear some 1950s music in the background with Elvis serenading “Blue Hawaii,” or you might find a little live luau music entertainment on some Friday evenings.
“I was hooked by the Aloha Platter, which included wings, Asian dumplings, Mauna Kea shrimp and Aloha Stix,” Story said. “The sampler is the highlight of the menu. The flavors and preparation are excellent, and portions are large enough to provide four people with a taste of each offering. I plan to order this and not share with anyone else the next time I visit, however, the Dad’s “da Kine” Sushi will be a big hit with everyone also. It’s got an island appeal but no raw fish for the squeamish.”
For main course dishes, Story suggested the Pipeline Wrap with a little steak and chicken or the Hala Kahiki hapa Rib Plate with signature pineapple ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender. Entrees may be ordered in a bowl or plate, and all come with brown or white rice and fresh veggies. The plates also are served with a little extra macaroni salad and broccoli.
“Don’t overlook the appetizers! They are the true find that will keep you coming back.”
‘Goodbye’ in Hawaiian is ‘Aloha.’ But you’ll be saying hello again to the Aloha Grill, and it’s easy to remember. That greeting, too, is ‘Aloha!’

What: Aloha Grill, Hawaiian cuisine Where: 3499 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Fla. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Phone: 850-932-4837 Prices: Reasonable