Courtesy of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Brings a Taste of the Hawaiian Islands to Boulder

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Boulder may be thousands of miles away from Hawaii, but you don’t have to travel quite that far to feast on the delicious flavors of the beloved Pacific islands.

 

The city recently welcomed a brand new eatery specializing in Hawaiian cuisine. In September, husband-and-wife duo Matt Coty and Jamie Brooks opened L&L Hawaiian Barbecue at 2323 30th St. This casual eatery serves up classic Hawaiian dishes, like crunchy chicken katsu, tangy barbecue chicken, creamy macaroni salad and umami-packed spam musubi, to name a few. L&L’s primary focus is the “plate lunch,” a long-standing Hawaiian staple that consists of two servings of rice, one serving of macaroni salad and your choice of protein.

 

For decades, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was a successful chain of drive-in restaurants with locations throughout Hawaii. Then, in 1999, founders Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores, Jr. decided to bring the concept to the mainland—and it’s been going strong ever since. Colorado now has six L&L locations—two in Aurora, two in Colorado Springs, one in Denver and one in Boulder—and there are more than 210 locations across the country.

 

Brooks grew up in Oahu, Hawaii, where she often picked up L&L Hawaiian Barbecue on her way to the beach. After high school, she moved to the mainland to attend Harvard, then later to Las Vegas, where she met Coty. He, too, grew up visiting L&L near his home in California. In 2015, the pair moved to Colorado, where Brooks began a career in fundraising at the University of Colorado Boulder.

 

Matt Coty and Jamie Brooks. Courtesy of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

 

During all that time, Brooks never forgot about the flavors of her home state. And, now, she’s sharing those flavors with Boulder.

 

We chatted with Brooks to learn more about this popular new restaurant and, six months in, how things are going. Here’s what she had to say.

Why did you want to open an L&L Hawaiian Barbecue?

 

Having been born and raised on Oahu, I have always carried a piece of Hawaii with me since leaving after graduating high school. When my husband Matt and I moved to Colorado, I instantly noticed the limited representation of Hawaii cuisine, music and culture in Boulder. We thought L&L was a great introduction to a community with adventurous culinary tastes and a willingness to embrace new cultures.

Why Boulder? What made this community the right fit?

 

Boulder is renowned for its bold culinary offerings and welcoming attitude towards diverse cultural influences. We were confident that L&L would seamlessly integrate into this vibrant community, given the enthusiastic response from customers upon our opening.

What kind of environment are you hoping to create at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue? What’s the space like?

 

The vibe is relaxed and intimate, seating less than 20 people. We have Hawaiian music playing over the TV screen, and our front-of-house staff always greets you with the aloha spirit. I’m proud of our team and the quality of service they provide as we’ve been consistently receiving 5-star reviews on Google.

What can people expect from the food? What’s the overarching philosophy behind the items on the menu?

 

L&L features traditional and robust island flavors. It’s approachable food at a reasonable price. Spam musubi is one of the most popular to-go items, followed by the BBQ mix plate or chicken katsu.

Can you share your top recommendations for what to order?

 

I recommend the BBQ mix plate or chicken katsu for first-timers. Kalua pork and a musubi for the next visit. You must try our iconic macaroni salad at least once!

What else do you want more people to know?

 

Our location is proud of the philanthropic partnerships we’ve been a part of since our opening. Colorado 4 Maui and the Maui Humane Society were some of our early partners. Also, we plan to host two more fundraisers in 2024. We’re continuing to give back to the community we gratefully get to call home.

 

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