In the postpandemic world, John Louis decided it was time for a change at his restaurant.
Louis first opened his Maui Chop House in Rocky Point together with his friends Kevin Kresse and Jen Torre in 2019. The Hawaiian hot spot was an immediate success, but since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-house dining slowed down.
In an effort to keep things fresh, Maui Chop House began offering halal to go two weeks ago, as new halal shops have opened across the island in recent years. With take-out dining a preferred choice since the pandemic, customers can now call in or go online to order chicken and lamb over rice, gyros and falafel.
The Hawaiian eatery, located on Route 25A in a plaza shared with a 7-Eleven and several other storefronts, has also eliminated half of its seating and added a new section to its menu dubbed the “Rocky Point Burger Bar.”
“Instead of keeping that space occupied with something that’s not going to make money, I decided to do a complete 180 and go sports bar,” Louis said. “We put in a game room and simplified the menu a little bit.”
Diners at the bar or the tables remaining after the renovation can order up classic American food like burgers, tenders, wings and chicken sandwiches.
Leaning into the new model, Louis also subscribed to a cable sports package to let customers watch the biggest games on the TVs above the bar.
Patrons can also enjoy the sports bar’s arcade offerings. Louis brought in a pool table, a bowling and golf arcade game, Big Buck Hunter, skee ball, a basketball game and a new jukebox.
Louis said the changes have brought in more foot traffic than he has seen in previous months, and customer feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Despite all the changes, the Maui Chop House’s Hawaiian beginnings remain intact.
Customers can still order favorites like the SPAM loco moco and tuna poke nachos, which Louis remembers his father making for him as a child.
“I’ve been doing this since 1997,” Louis said of his time in the restaurant industry. “My father was Hawaiian. He passed away when I was in high school. So the Hawaiian place is an homage to him. This industry is all I’ve ever done my entire life.”