Jimmy Hula's is open in Winter Park!
Tonight my co-worker and I ordered takeout from Jimmy Hula's, the new Winter Park restaurant that opened on Tuesday of this week.
Jimmy Hula's specializes in fish tacos, burgers, and beer, with a laid-back Hawaiian theme. The restaurant is at 2252 Aloma Avenue, between Semoran and Lakemont, and just across the street from another great new place, Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen. Jimmy Hula's took over a long-defunct sushi restaurant, and now boasts a wide-open dining space with lots of outdoor seating. Unfortunately, the only views consist of the construction site next door (the former location of the much-missed Don Pepe's Habana Grill) and traffic along Aloma. You order at the counter, Tijuana Flats-style, and they call your name and bring your food to you when it's ready. However, since it's a new place, they had a line out the door with everyone holding laminated menus and studying them intently. I was smart to call ahead, as my order was waiting for me ten minutes after I called.
The food was very good and very affordable, I'm happy to say. They offer a few different fish tacos, all with mahi that you can get either grilled, blackened, or crispy. I opted for crispy mahi on the Malibu fish taco, which included guacamole, salsa fresca, cilantro-lime sour cream, pepper jac cheese, and shredded lettuce. It tasted very refreshing, and I have no complaints about it. They use grilled flour tortillas instead of what I understand are more authentic soft corn tortillas, but I actually prefer the flour. The fish tacos are all available individually (rather than in trios or platters or anything), and most of them are $3.50 each.
That was just the warmup, though. My co-worker ordered the Hermosa Beach Burger, which included bacon, guacamole, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on toasted marble rye, and she thought the combination of guacamole and marble rye made it a new classic. I ordered the Duke Burger, which included smoked pulled pork, barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion petals, and romaine-jalapeno slaw on a toasted bun. It was really nice, and I liked the combination of the juicy, chargrilled burger and the various toppings. Jimmy Hula's has several pulled pork sandwich and taco options, so I wanted a chance to try it too. The menu says the pork is citrus-marinated, and while I didn't taste citrus, I did have a lot of flavors going on at once -- just how I love my burgers! The burgers aren't huge like Fuddruckers, but they're probably at least quarter-pounders. Unlike Five Guys, they weren't burned to well-done (which makes them anything BUT well done, if you ask me).
Anyway, the burgers come al la carte, so my co-worker ordered fries and I ordered onion petals, which turned out to be redundant because there were at least four nice-sized ones on my burger. They were standard upper-tier fast food sides. The fries were seasoned curly fries, not terribly crispy, but of course we didn't eat them hot and fresh out of the fryer, and the onion petals had a slightly sweet batter and reminder me of something a place like Arby's would have. Our bag had one container of a slightly spicy, creamy pink sauce that was probably ketchup, mayo, and random spices, but it was good on everything.
So all in all, I'd definitely recommend Jimmy Hula's as a new casual dining option. Just study the menu in advance so you don't slow down everyone else in line behind you, or arrive at an off time. My only complaint is that the prices shown on the downloadable PDF menu were all higher on the menus in the actual restaurant, by a dollar or two. I understand that they just opened two days ago, but I hope they update these prices online so people ordering over the phone aren't misled. I'm not mad, but I could see how some people might be. In the end, I would go back to Jimmy Hula's and bring others with me, and I think that's one of the best things you can say about any new restaurant.