When Joe Evasco moved to Las Vegas — colloquially referred to as the ninth island — from Waianae, Hawaii, about 20 years ago, he struggled to find Hawaiian restaurants. As a chef of nearly 30 years at restaurants in his hometown and at Boyd Gaming, Evasco had a longtime dream of opening a restaurant where he would serve food from his culture.
That came to pass recently, when Evasco noticed that a Maui island-style barbecue restaurant — Da Pineapple Express — that he frequented was for sale. He and childhood friend xxxxxxxx decided to buy it, and A Touch of Aloha opened July 5.
xxxxx said the name of the restaurant describes what they want to provide, especially for those who moved here from Hawaii.
“There’s a lot of Hawaiians in this community, and they would want a place like this,” he said, adding, “We’re getting a lot of people from different islands. They’re very happy that there’s (a Hawaiian restaurant) on their side of town.”
The owners revised the previous restaurant’s menu to match their style, xxxx said. Styles of cooking often are based on what Hawiian island people are from; Waianae is on Oahu. Evasco learned how to cook from his father, who taught him how to make Filipino staple dishes such as adobo.
xxxx said their most popular dishes include pork hash (99 cents each), pork char siu manapuas (pork buns for $2.75 each), chow fun noodles (starts at $7.99) and loco moco ($10.99). Another popular meal is the bento choice plate, which comes with rice, macaroni salad and a choice of three entrees such as chicken katsu, kalua pork and teryaki beef for $12.50. They also sell Hawiian frost, which is a Hawaiian shave ice treat for $2.