First Look: Big Kahuna, Atlanta

Dining Out

Big Kahuna, Atlanta

11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. Saturdays; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.

Starters, small plates, $2.99-$13.99; tacos plates, $9.99-$11.99; burgers, $10.99-$13.99; fajitas, $14.99-$19.99; seafood platters, $15.99-$24.99; sides, $3.95.

303 Peachtree Center Ave. NE, 404-343-0409,

A new franchise-in-the-making, Big Kahuna on Peachtree Center Avenue looks like it should be situated somewhere on the Las Vegas Strip. Tom Nahas, one the founders of the Twisted Taco brand, partnered with downtown retailer Rahim Kaba to create the colorful “flex casual” California surf food and drink concept.

The look: The SunTrust Plaza location positions Kahuna in the heart of downtown Atlanta's business and visitors hub. Outdoors, the sidewalk patio is illuminated by tiki torch-like pyramid gas heaters. Indoors, wood, stone, polished concrete floors and movable glass walls create a sturdy but airy atmosphere. Custom surfboards hang behind the bar and a bright Silver Surfer figure is suspended from the ceiling.

The scene: Depending on the time of day, the bar and restaurant are set up for distinctly different styles of service, from breakfast snacks and fast casual lunch, to happy hour, full table service at dinner, and DJs and live entertainment late nights. That means the crowd can change quickly, too.

The menu: California-meets-Mexico in offerings that include tacos, burgers, fajitas and steamed and fried seafood platters. Beef burgers are a house grind of sirloin, brisket and chuck. The West Coast Meets East Coast BBQ Burger ($10.99) is topped with chipotle citrus barbecue sauce, spicy pimento cheese, "mom's pickles" and brown sugar bacon. Or try a chicken, black bean or crab and shrimp version. Order steamed snow crab legs or jumbo shrimp by the pound or combo pot ($15.99-$24.99).

The drinks: Not surprisingly, fruity tropical cocktails, margaritas and "surf-tinis" star at the bar. Look for the likes of the Silver Surfer on Acid, with blanco tequila, Amaretto, fresh lemon, lime and pineapple juice ($9), or the Baja margarita, with Espolon tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime, pineapple and orange juice garnished with a chilled pineapple wedge ($9). Other drinks include Mexican and American lagers and a few local craft beers on draft or in bottles, and a concise wine list.

The extras: There's free validated parking at the SunTrust Plaza garage. Big Kahuna is also available for business meetings, and can accommodate large parties and private dining events.