Since Hogo opened in Shaw last December, the rum bar has hosted a number of guest chefs cooking everything from Jewish deli food to Scandinavian fare to modern American. But owner Tom Brown is looking to put the brakes on the rotating kitchen and switch to a fixed menu later this fall.
“I’d like to continue to work with guest chefs, but we’re running out of friends that are chefs,” Brown says. The Passenger chef Javier Duran and Hogo sous chef Chris Wright are working on a Caribbean and South American-inspired menu that fits with the rum bar’s “tiki nuevo” cocktail theme. Brown says it won’t debut until at least October or November—and even that’s still up in the air. “If I have a steady stream of chefs who are interested I may delay that,” Brown says.
In the meantime, the Hawaiian diner menu that Hogo offered when it first opened is back. That means you can again eat spam musubi, miso saimin (a Hawaiian version of ramen), and loco moco (burger patties and fried eggs covered with gravy and sides of rice and macaroni salad). There’s also some new additions, including a Hawaiian burger and grilled mahi-mahi tacos. (Check out the full menu here.)
Brown isn’t sure exactly how long the Hawaiian menu will be around; he’s talking with a few chefs about doing a stint in the kitchen in the coming months, but nothing is finalized.
Another change on the way, possibly as soon as next week: a cocktail menu revamp with “tiki nuevo” recipes created exclusively by the Hogo team. Brown says that “tiki nuevo” is a new style of tiki drinks based on South American and Caribbean flavors and philosophies. The tiki movement started in California and Hawaii when service members returned from World War II, but the fruity rum drinks were an Americanized version of what they encountered in the South Pacific. Brown is trying to focus more on authentic South American flavors with his large collection or rum as well as other spirits like tequila, mezcal, and pisco.
“Tiki hasn’t really changed since the ’40s,” Brown says. “We’re just trying to update it and make it more modern.”
Photo of loco moco at Hogo by Jessica Sidman