Cora and Hensan Timo’s restaurant adventure started with a craving. It’s grown into 10 years of success and an anticipated opening of a second location.
“I was craving what we call an Hawaiian plate lunch,” Hensan Timo said. “It is two scoops of rice and macaroni and whatever type of meat.”
After settling in Killeen to be near their children, who were stationed at Fort Hood, they noticed there wasn’t such a place, especially one with a traditional Hawaiian feel, in the area. The retired couple decided to open their own.
“He loves to cook, and I love to bake, and we put those two talents together,” Cora Timo said about starting the restaurant.
One of their first customers was a soldier who ate one of their plates just days before deploying. While overseas, that soldier shared his thoughts of the food with others and soon Cora and Hensan’s son was calling them to share how popular their business was.
“It doesn’t seem like that long (ago),” said Hensan, owner of C&H Hawaiian Grill. “I can remember when we first opened, 20,000 soldiers were in Iraq.”
Soldiers still dominate the long lines formed at lunchtime for the business on Rancier Avenue, but people from around the state — and even out of state — venture into the restaurant.
Popular orders from the menu are Hawaiian teriyaki chicken or beef, brisket, Kalua pork with cabbage, chicken katsu and more.
Their homemade sauces, which are based with Hawaiian soy sauce, also are in high demand.
To celebrate 10 years in business, a special event will be planned in March and a second location will open in Copperas Cove, 105 E. Avenue E, in late February.
The new Cove location will be similar to the Killeen operations.
People will order and pick up their food at a counter.
Featuring a larger kitchen, the new location will probably test some new dishes that will hopefully be featured at both sites in the future, Hensan said.
Problems with the C&H’s previous locations in Temple and Harker Heights included a lack of traffic and trying out a mostly new menu.
“A lot of people said this is not who you guys are,” Hensan said about a fuller more dinner style menu.
Renovations of the Cove restaurant spot are already underway, but C&H is managing a campaign on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website, to help fund the growth. The campaign is requesting $10,000 from supporters in exchange for several items to include food and their names on a “Ohana Wall” dedicated to the donors.
“When you are trying to get money from a bank, it is hard for a restaurant, because they are high risk,” Hensan said. “Kickstarter is very popular resource for business now.”
The donations to fund the new location have been slow, but the response to the campaign is great, said Evelyn Langford, who is managing it.
By tracking the campaign, the restaurant can see how many people visited the website and viewed C&H’s promotional video, she said. There has been a lot of clicks since it launched.
Funding for the Kickstarter ends Feb. 2.
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C & H Hawaiian Grill will open at 105 E. Avenue E in Copperas Cove in February.
A Kickstarter campaign can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/29307888/lets-take-hawaiian-food-across-the-lonestar-state?ref=discovery.
C & H is located at 903 E. Rancier, Killeen.