LITTLE ELM (September 24, 2013) Little Elm’s growing status as a destination point for visitors as well as its expanding commercial and retail base are pointedly illustrated in the announcement of the pending establishment of a highly popular, water-themed eatery at Beard Park, according to Planning Manager Dusty McAfee.

“We’re elated about the decision by Hula Hut to come to Little Elm. It’s a natural evolution for both the Town and the restaurant, as our waterfront area is soon to be the among the most attractive lakefronts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Hula Hut is ready to expand from their Austin roots. Overall, it’s a way to merge our complementary goals,” he said.

Hula Hut is one of the most popular restaurants in the state capital, featuring a Tex-Mex cuisine overlaid with a Polynesian decor, leading to its distinctive tagline as having a “Tiki-Mex” flavor. Its single 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.

The Little Elm location, to be owned and operated by Hula Hut Little Elm LLC, will be constructed next to the Hydrous Wake Board location in Beard Park on Eldorado Parkway. While within view of Lake Lewisville, the restaurant will construct an overwater patio, atop its own small lake dredged for that purpose.

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 late summer of 2014.

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.

“Their reputation certainly precedes them. Having a Hula Hut in Little Elm is a major boost to our standing as a preferred destination for locals, area visitors and a growing regional audience. It also sends a strong message to other complementary commercial concerns that points to Little Elm as a place to make investments,” said McAfee.

Oyster, managing partner of Hula Hut Little Elm LLC, expressed a sense of anticipation in his company’s entry into the Dallas-Fort Worth market with its Little Elm site. “Working with the staff at Little Elm has been a pleasure–we had an instant connection, and the town fits the personality of Hula Hut to a tee,” he said.

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 April or May of next year.