Hula Hotties Bakery and Café is shaking off the last vestiges of its Hawaiian theme.
As first reported by the Oak Cliff Advocate, the tiny eatery plans to reopen on March 29 as an Italian restaurant. The transformation marks the end of a gradual evolution, owner Jill Inforzato says.
When Inforzato and her husband, Roger Simpson, opened Hula Hotties in 2009, the menu reflected the cuisine of the state where they'd lived for the previous 38 years.
"It didn't go over too well," Inforzato recalls. "I think some people like Asian and everything, but not Oak Cliff. They couldn't figure out what the heck we were."
Hula Hotties took a monthlong hiatus in January 2010.
"We said my God, what are we going to do?" Inforzato says.
The couple settled on offering comfort food "with a Pacific Rim twist," Inforzato says, which meant the brisket was served with an Asian-esque sauce. The restaurant also inaugurated a weekly spaghetti night, based around a sauce Inforzato's relatives had served at an Italian restaurant they'd operated in Duluth, Minnesota, for 100 years. Inforzato's family relocated to California before the spaghetti house shut down in the 1970s, but she was still privy to her "great-great-grandmother Dora's recipe."
"We were pretty much a hit on spaghetti night," Inforzato says.
When a pipe burst last month, flooding the restaurant, Hula Hotties was forced into a second winter sabbatical. Inforzato initially resisted reopening with an all-Italian menu -- "I kept saying I didn't want to ruin a good night," she explains -- but is now enthusiastic about the switchover to Inforzato's Italian Café.
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"We're not putting bakery in the name, because it would be too wordy," Inforzato says. "But the bakery is going to be an Italian-style bakery and we'll have a small Italian deli."
The restaurant will also continue to host weekly $6 spaghetti nights.
"Hopefully, it's going to be successful," Inforzato says.