Jimmy Hula’s is bringing its good vibes and fun, family-friendly fare to New Smyrna Beach, with plans to open on Canal Street in early December 2021.
And Zach Hartman, vice president of Jimmy Hula’s, couldn’t be more excited about the iconic building that will house the restaurant’s new location.
Hula’s, a local chain based in Winter Park, bought 151 Canal St. in March. New Smyrna locals know the address as Bob’s Automotive, which had occupied that location since the early 1970s. Bob Morrow, the owner of Bob’s Automotive, retired in December with hopes someone would buy the building and continue doing auto repair.
While Morrow won’t get his wish, he might be pleased to hear the new owners plan on leaving as much of the building intact as they can, including the signature service bay doors.
“We think it’s a really cool building,” Mr. Hartman said. “We want to showcase the architecture of the retro garage. We’re going to do as much as we can to keep that look intact.”
The cost expected for the renovations has not yet been determined.
Once complete, the surf-themed restaurant will seat between 150 and 170 customers. The plans also include an outdoor seating area that will feature fire pits, a stage for live music and an outdoor bar, all of which will occupy space in front of the building.
The only onsite parking will be six to eight parking spots available in the rear of the restaurant, meaning Hula’s will depend heavily on public lots and on-street spaces to provide parking for its customers.
Parking issues were a hot topic at the New Smyrna Beach City Commission meeting in March, when commissioners addressed parking challenges faced by the city marina’s tenants and agreed to conduct a workshop to review ongoing parking concerns. Commissioner Jason McGuirk presented the failure by businesses to provide adequate parking for their employees as one of the reasons that parking can be difficult to find.
Jimmy Hula’s opened its first restaurant in 2011 in Winter Park. The New Smyrna location will be the 12th restaurant in the chain, with another to open at about the same time in St. Augustine. The menu, which includes tacos, burgers, bowls and salads, promises diners “Food Nirvana,” which Mr. Hartman said comes from unique flavors that “feed your soul.”
The New Smyrna location will be the third in Volusia County and will be managed by the same team that runs the restaurants in Port Orange and Ormond Beach. They anticipate hiring 40 people to staff the restaurant.
Jimmy Hula’s announced plans to open in New Smyrna on their Instagram feed in early April with a picture of 151 Canal Street emblazoned with the Jimmy Hula’s logo. The post collected hundreds of “likes” and supportive comments from dozens of locals.