This Righteous New Restaurant has Preserving the Earth in Mind

Pono, soon to be located inside of Cypress Lounge, is a Hawaiian Grille with an earth-friendly plan.

“Good morality, goodness, to live righteously, to be a good steward of the land. If you are being Pono, you are being good to the earth. It also means being good to your family, friends and people. It’s a way of life. If we could all live that way—the Pono way, life would be so great,” said Timmy Hunt. 

Hunt frequently wakes up with coffee, eggs and toast at the , just up the street from —the restaurant he has co-owned for the past seven years. Hunt recently sold his share in the business to take on a new venture—Pono Hawaiian Grille. A few years ago, Ashton Hodge, owner of the broached the subject of joining force, but Hunt wasn’t ready at the time.

Hunt and Hodge are finally ready to form a smart union of chic bar and eco-conscious, Hawaiian cuisine.

John Akeman expects the new pairing will be nothing less than Pono’licious.

“Timmy's Hawaiian-style food is so good," said Akeman. "I have family and friends from different parts of Hawaii, and when they come to visit, we go see Braddah Timmy and they are surprised that his food tastes like their home cooking back on the Islands. Braddah Timmy is very mindful about good quality food and if Pono is anything close to what he has done at Aloha Grille, it’s going to be awesome.” 

Windmill proprietor Michael Sigmon, who has watched Hunt go through the planning stages over the past several months said, “I look forward to seeing his vision come to life.”

At the beginning of May, Hunt will take over the kitchen with expectations of being in full operation mid-month.

Hunt said he is working with food purveyors to develop a menu around food that is sustainable, including taking into consideration the recommendations of Seafood Watch and carrying sustainable meat. Hunt also plans to use local sources for produce.

“I want my restaurant to reflect the meaning of Pono,” said Hunt, who grew up in Maui. “I want to bring Hawaiian music, hula, language and food together in Santa Cruz.”

When Hunt is not managing the demands of restauranteering, he can be found surfing or hanging with his six-year-old son Kaleo.

Westmont Place Townhomes April 13, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Mahalo! I am always wondering if the food that I eat in restaurants is organic and sustainable. I only recently became conscious of of eating this way myself. It makes me happy to know that Santa Cruz and Hawaii will come together again in this wonderful new way.


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