LITTLE ELM (June 24, 2014) Little Elm Mayor David Hillock was joined by officials of Austin-based Hula Hut as ground was broken for construction of the hugely-popular, water-themed eatery at Beard Park, their first expansion outside of the state capital, says Town Manager Matt Mueller. “What was once an idea that few thought would come to pass, is now closer to reality,” he said. “We are, needless to say, elated about the decision by Hula Hut to come to Little Elm.” Gathered under threatening skies, the symbolic turning of dirt occurred on Thursday, June 19. The restaurant, one of the most popular in Austin, joins Hydrous Wake Board Park and the newly-opened Towers Tap House as initial anchors of Little Elm’s emerging Lakefront District. Already a leading lakeside attraction because of its 66 miles of shoreline, Little Elm has invested in major improvements to nearby Little Elm Park with a new, lengthened swim and wade beach, a larger and easier to navigate boat dock, a large fishing/boarding dock as well as other amenities including expanded parking lots. The Little Elm Hula Hut will mirror the original location with a long outdoor patio overlooking a small lake feature. The restaurant features a Tex-Mex cuisine overlaid with a Polynesian decor, leading to its distinctive tagline as having a “Tiki-Mex” flavor. Its original location overlooks Lake Austin. Established in 1993 at Oyster Landing by a consortium which included managing partner Duffy Oyster, the restaurant is known for its fresh ingredients and proprietary recipes. Live music and specialty drinks are offered in the various bars within the establishment, many bearing names and tastes in keeping with the South Pacific theme. Oyster and other Hula Hut officials and their families attended the Little Elm groundbreaking in attire highly appropriate for a South Pacific event. The Little Elm location, to be owned and operated by Hula Hut Little Elm LLC, will be constructed in what will be the newly-revamped Beard Park on Eldorado Parkway. Located within steps of Lewisville Lake, the restaurant plans to dredge its own lake, similar to the procedure which created the Hydrous lagoons. Preliminary plans call for a 7,000 square-foot indoor seating and bar area, and an additional 5,000 square-foot patio/dock which can serve as additional seating for the restaurant. The site preparation, design, and construction will take some 12 months, with an expected opening in the summer of 2015. Some 150 jobs will be created with the restaurant opening, and another 100 jobs during construction. Hula Hut’s Austin location has demonstrated itself as a highly successful location, averaging annual sales of some $8 million. Officials with the restaurant predict a similar level of sales activity in the Little Elm location. The Little Elm Economic Development Corporation and its staff were instrumental in assisting in the development of the financial structure that paved the way for the restaurant’s decision. Construction is set to begin in several weeks.