Originally Published: November 29, 2013 6 a.m.
In August, Sharon's Aloha Grille opened anew at 520 W. Sheldon Street under the guidance of owner and chef Sharon Mortensen.
Mortensen is a familiar name to patrons of the restaurant. She previously owned the business from 2007 to 2011, before selling it to pursue other endeavors. Now she's returned, and has a number of changes in store for the locally owned Hawaiian-themed restaurant, including dinner selections and new menu items.
Mortensen has worked in the restaurant business for a number of years, and owned bars and coffee shops in the Tucson area.
When she first moved to Prescott, she hoped to open another coffee shop, but instead found herself the owner of the Aloha Grille. Now, in order to differentiate herself and retain the memorable Aloha name, Mortensen went with Sharon's Aloha Grille.
Originally, Mortensen felt a little apprehensive when it came to cooking up Hawaiian fare, but quickly learned the art. Nearly everything on the menu is either made at the restaurant or locally produced.
"Our customers are awesome. We have the nicest people that come in here. It really makes you appreciate your choice of a career," Mortensen said.
Having now reopened the restaurant, she plans to continue adding to the menu. New additions include Lilo's Tuna Melt, which offers a blend of albacore tuna, carrots, sweet onion and crisp celery, topped with jack and cheddar cheese, toasted and served on open-faced sourdough.
She's also made a point to list calories, fat content and protein content on most of her menu items.
"I think every restaurant should have to tell you calorie counts, because people need to know that kind of stuff," Mortensen said. "What I do is weigh everything, and look it up on the package, or online. I also have a nutrition book I use as well. We put a disclaimer on everything, because we hand-make everything for each order, so there may be three more carrots here and there, but it's very close."
Aloha's menu offers healthy choices to decadent ones, such as the customer favorite Kahana Crab and Artichoke Melt, and the half-pound Angus teriyaki burger.
Customers tend to return to Sharon's Aloha Grille for the Kalua Pork BBQ Specialty sandwich, which features traditional pulled pork slow roasted "Kalua" style for 12 hours, and served on a toasted sesame seed bun. The Yakisoba Stir Fry, with steamed broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, sweet onion, sugar snap peas and green cabbage, sweet chile and teriyaki sauce on a plate of Yakisoba noodles is another longtime favorite. When it comes to drinks, the sweet Aloha lemonade is also a local favorite. A local roaster provides coffees, Mortensen said.
Other menu items include the Waimanalo Chicken and Apples Salad, the Oriental Chicken Salad, Lilo's White Albacore Tuna Salad, a variety of wraps featuring chicken, pork, veggie, and tuna; and a number of other sandwich and plate lunches.
Sandwich lunches are served with grilled pineapple and aloha curry macaroni salad or Hawaiian cole slaw. Plate lunches are served Hawaiian style on a bed of sautéed cabbage and carrots with organic wild rice medley, aloha macaroni salad and grilled fresh pineapple.
Dinner menu choices the grilled chicken plate, Kalua pork plate, the shrimp plate, Ahi plate, mango baby back ribs, combination plate and more.