June 18, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A new tiki-themed barbecue restaurant and bar will be popping up every weekend this summer in the backyard of Greenpoint’s creative co-working space A/D/O.
The pop-up restaurant, named Yaki Tiki, steps outside the usual tiki bar fare by blending Japanese foods and flavors into the relaxed, island atmosphere.
On the permanent food menu is the restaurant’s namesake Yakitori, a grilled Japanese chicken skewer, along with a chicken thigh with gremolata, maitake mushroom and sansho peppers. Other menu items will continually rotate throughout the summer and will often feature underutilized cuts of meat, such as pig ears and beef hearts, as well as seasonal produce and local fish.
To help restaurant-goers cool off, chef Paul Punch has created a watermelon-shaped popsicle sprinkled with cacao nibs, as well as a number of boozy frozen treats.
On the drinks menu are several types of Japanese beer and sake, as well as hand-crafted cocktails including frozen slushy drinks and Yaki Tiki’s signature honeybear cocktail.
“The cocktails of Yaki Tiki are inspired by imagining Japan as an island with more of a tropical mindset,” said Bar Director Brian Evans. “Japanese spirits and umami flavors are carefully pieced together into classic tiki cocktail templates and are finished with playful, over-the-top garnish presentation.”
The idea for the Japanese tiki bar came to creators JT Vuong and George Padilla in 2015 after traveling to Tokyo for a ramen pop-up event and dining out at a neighborhood yakitori restaurant.
“Our friend, Dave Potes, was there and [he] always brings the aloha party-vibes,” said Padilla. “Delirious from the 14-hour flight, we got drunk, ate all night […] and thought ‘yakitori plus tiki cocktails… Yaki Tiki!’”
The pop-up, located at 29 Norman Ave., is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will run through Labor Day weekend.