The Omni Hut is a real rarity in Tennessee and the South for that matter as well, you don't get many Polynesian/Tiki restaurants around these parts. It was built in 1960 by a retired fighter pilot named James F. Walls who took up cooking as a job - but it turned into a eventual hobby while he was stationed in Hawaii as a pilot before World War II. In the service, he trekked all over the world and developed quite a fascination with the culture and food of the lands that he traveled in.
When he retired from the service, Major Walls decided to start a restaurant in the Smyrna, Tennessee area. At first, the restaurant was named "Chinese Cuisine" but after feedback from his guests, he decided to concentrate on a Polynesian theme and changed the name to "The Omni Hut". And over fifty years later, it's still in business. Unfortunately, Major Walls passed away in March of this year but his staff is still doing him proud. They were so nice to us and made us feel really welcome. Let's take a look at the place!
We got there before the rest of our friends and were warmly greeted by the late Major Walls' daughter, Polly who was the hostess. She was so sweet and friendly and made us feel right at home. She happily let me walk around and take photos of everything and as some of you know, some businesses get grumpy about that sort of thing. You could tell that she was proud of the place, as she should be.
This is the other dining room. The walls had faux flowers inset behind glass and were beautiful. When you're inside of the Omni Hut, it is so easy to convince yourself that you're not in Tennessee anymore. I kinda didn't want to leave.
Of course, there were fancy drinks. The Omni Hut is alcohol free but they let you bring your own with no corking fee. The Hawaiian Tea is a great mixer for your drink of choice.
I didn't get a good shot of the flaming dishes so I found this one online. The dishes are pretty heavy on grilled meats but even vegetarians like the Mister and myself found some good options. In the interest of full disclosure, I got the vegetable chow mien which was like a fail from a daring 50's cookbook - but everything else that I had was good. The Mister got veggie kabobs and the servers deliver freshly baked loaves of Hawaiian bread to the table. They make their salad dressings and Teriyaki sauce from scratch. Yummy. They even have a flaming chocolate dessert but thanks to the huge portions, we were too stuffed to approach.
By the time that we left, we were all giddy - so they must be doing something right there at the Omni Hut.
If you're ever in the Smyrna, Tennessee area, definitely check out the Omni Hut. Make sure to call for a reservation as they're packed on some nights. We guarantee that you'll have a blast!
Until next time,
x's and o's,