Perhaps one of the surefire ways to remain in business post-COVID-19 is your ability to evolve with the ever-changing landscape of state-mandated guidelines for restaurant operation.
Mano Lujan, owner of The Shed, located at 333 E. Tehachapi Blvd., has been doing just that in an effort to keep one foot ahead in the game. Recently, Lujan converted his menu to feature Hawaiian cuisine for the first time in Tehachapi.
"The pandemic has kind of slowed everything down, obviously," Lujan said last week.
Lujan and his wife, Mei Mei, also own Red House BBQ located across the street from The Shed. In order to keep a full staff employed, they recently incorporated a drive-through window at The Shed. However, this idea didn't exactly pan out.
So instead, the Lujans brought the Big Island to the iconic restaurant.
Mano said he and his late mother, Nancy Lujan, grew up in Hawaii.
"As a little boy, I grew up listening to stories, going down to the beach with the friends and going to luaus. Somebody would always bring something... white rice, macaroni salad or somebody would catch a fish and bring it down there. It was always just this hodgepodge, mishmash of cultures. It influenced my mother's love for Asian cooking," Mano said.
Last week, Mano said he spent time training his staff on the preparation of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, and a twist on a few dishes of his own.
Dishes will include Saimin, the national noodle dish of Hawaii featuring the freshest noodles straight from the Sun Noodle Company in Los Angeles, Musubi (a Spam/rice wrap), Loco Moco (a comfort food with rice, brown gravy, fried eggs and a burger patty) and Mano's own macaroni salad.
"Our macaroni salad doesn't taste like any macaroni salad in this town. It is a true, Hawaiian macaroni salad with a little twist of Japanese influence which comes from me and my culinary background," Mano said.
Plate lunches will be sold as well as mixed plates.
"The portions are pretty big here, the cost is very good," Mano said.
Be sure to check out the specialty drinks.
Once the pandemic subsides, Mano said he plans to feature Polynesian dancers and the occasional luau.
"We want to have some fun," Mano said.
Come into The Shed and order take-out only. All items will come in biodegradable, green, earth-friendly containers that are microwave safe and compostable.
Hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. On Sundays, The Shed will continue to feature the soup kitchen.