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Mahalo, a Hawaiian-Themed Restaurant With Rooftop Deck, Replaces Bom Bolla

By Alisa Hauser | March 24, 2016 12:30pm
 (l.) GM Nick and owner Brad Parker are bringing Mahalo to the former Bom Bolla spot.
(l.) GM Nick and owner Brad Parker are bringing Mahalo to the former Bom Bolla spot.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK —  Mahalo, a casual Hawaiian spot that will offer luau feasts on its rooftop deck along with Polynesian-Asian fusion dishes, will replace the shuttered Bom Bolla, it was announced Thursday.

And if everything goes as planned, the new venture will open by Memorial Day, said Brad Parker, owner of Parker Restaurant Group, which also operates the nautical-themed Hampton Social in River North.

On site at the future Mahalo, 1501 N. Milwaukee Ave. on Thursday, Parker said that he had been scoping out spots in Wicker Park to bring in the new concept when he came across the vacant Bom Bolla and took over its 10-year lease.

"It will be approachable, an everyday spot for the neighborhood," Parker said of the future Mahalo on the northwest corner of Honore Street and Milwaukee Avenue, across from Rick Bayless' Xoco and Volumes Bookcafe, a new book store.

Construction to transform the former Spanish cava bar into Mahalo has started and should take a few months.  The exterior facade of the 1880s-era vintage building that was saved from the wrecking ball in 2014 will be white, turquoise and teal.

Inside, the goal is to create "a very vintage, Hawaiian surf shack" vibe, Parker said.

The 32-year-old Parker, who grew up in suburban Deerfield, said that he finds the inspiration for his restaurants from family vacations he took as a kid.  The goal is to make patrons feel like they are escaping from Chicago.

The onsite day-to-day chef, whose name is yet to be released, is originally from Hawaii, Parker said.

Whole-roasted pigs wrapped in banana leaves and fresh fish dishes as well as poke, a raw fish salad served as an appetizer, will be on the menu.

Drinks will include Mai Tai cocktails made with rum and tropical fruit juices, as well as beer and wine, Parker said.

A 1,000 square-foot second floor deck, dubbed "The Beach Bar at Mahalo," will be open to patrons during regular operating hours but can also be rented for private parties, Parker said.

Future home of Mahalo's cozy rooftop deck [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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