New options are arriving for Normanites who enjoy iced and hot tea, Hawaiian cuisine or a morning brew.

Norman residents will see new food and drink concepts and additional locations of a popular coffee brand in town popping up as we get further into 2022.

Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style coming to Norman

A fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in Hawaiian cuisine will open in Norman next month.

After 15 years driving buses in Oahu’s public transportation system, Brothers Kimo and Kalani Mack moved to the mainland and brought their cuisine along with them. They opened the first Mo’ Bettahs Hawaiian Style in Bountiful, Utah, in 2008. They cooked, managed and sometimes even slept at the store.

One store turned into six over the next nine years, before being acquired by Savory Fund in 2017. The brand now has nearly 30 stores across the nation and plans to have 26 new locations by the end this year, including five in Oklahoma, according to restaurant news.

Kaleo Dipko, operator and training store general manager, said Mo Bettah’s Norman location at 2801 24th Ave. NW will hopefully open in mid June.

Dipko said the food is authentic to what Hawaii natives enjoy.

“We’re true to what we grew up on,” Dipko said. “If I invited you over to my house in Hawaii, this is what it tastes like. This is roughly what the menu would be and what the palette would be.”

The menu features the plate lunch, which generally consists of rice, macaroni salad and proteins like chicken, steak and pork. Plate lunches originated from the Japanese, Filipino locals who worked the sugar and pineapple plantations in the late 1800s.

Dipko said everything, including the macaroni salad, is made in-house every day.

Protein options include teriyaki chicken, Kalua pig, Pulehu chicken thigh, katsu breaded chicken, teriyaki steak and shrimp tempura.

Patrons can eat inside the Hawaii-themed lobby with paddles and other island decor or grab a plate to go in the drive thru.

Dipko said the foundation of the brand’s culture is the Aloha spirit. Employees have no catchy script to follow but are taught the value of an authentic approach.

“The secret sauce is the sense that it’s a genuine level of service,” Dipko said. “Some will say ‘aloha,’ and some won’t, but it’s going to be genuine to who they are and what their personalities are.”

Starbucks to have eight locations in Norman

Two additional locations for Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, are underway in Norman.

A drive-thru only store is currently under construction at 3725 N. Flood Ave. According to an offering memorandum from Plains Commercial Real Estate, the intersection of Flood Avenue and Tecumseh Road is a high traffic area, with vehicle counts exceeding 45,000 per day.

This is part of an expansion effort that began in 2021 to increase drive-thrus in the southern midwest and the southeast regions of the U.S., Starbucks former Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer announced last year.

The shift to meet consumer needs and trends is paying off. John Culver, Starbucks chief operating officer, said in an earnings call that mobile order pick up, drive thru and delivery accounted for more than 70% of the company’s sales in the first quarter this year.

The Flood location has a projected opening of August.

Starbucks will locate its eighth location in Norman on the southwest corner of Lindsey Street and Berry Road at 1200 W. Lindsey St.

Following city staff concerns regarding access and traffic, Starbucks submitted an altered site plan in April.

The original site plan had a right in, right out and a left in, left out, with the driveway on Berry Road having a right out. Starbucks created a new site plan, which changes the driveway access on Lindsey to a right in, right out only with full access on Berry Road.

A timeline for completion on the Lindsey Street location has not been announced.

Iced tea chain HTeaO opening early next month on Porter

Norman residents can quench their summer thirst when HTeaO opens with 25 options of iced tea.

Mackenzie Jewell and her husband Coty, who operate the south Oklahoma City location, will operate the franchise at 1002 N Porter Ave. The 2,400-square-foot store will have a drive-thru focused style, where customers can purchase tea, Clif Bars, chips, ice or reverse osmosis water, a distinctive quality of the company’s tea.

The tea leaf blend was developed from 2009 to 2018, Jewell said. The flavored teas are infused through natural ingredients, without additives like artificial flavors and syrups.

Jewell said HTeaO is somewhat of a tea playground. The regular sweet tea may be the shop’s most purchased selection, but peach and pink lemonade are also on the company’s top seller list.

HTeaO has sweet and unsweet coconut, raspberry, as well as sweet almond green and some less conventional options.

Last week, the store scheduled a grand opening at noon June 3.

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at jelkins@normantranscript.com or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.

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