Orlando Getting a Second Hawkers

Written By Scott Joseph On June 14, 2017

Hawkers exterior

Hawkers Asian Street Fare, one of the area’s success stories, has been slowly expanding since it opened its first location in Mills 50 in 2011. Besides the original, which continues to be popular with diners, there are Hawkers in Jacksonville, St. Petersburg and Neptune Beach. Now, Orlando is getting a second location.

It will be located in a new phase of The Grove at Isleworth currently being developed by the Tavistock Group at the southwest corner of Apopka Vineland Road and Conroy-Windermere Road. The new restaurant will employ a staff of 110 initially and have 4500 square feet with seating for 150 guests. In comparison, the original Hawkers seats 78 people inside and another 30 on the patio, well under that magic number that would allow it to serve full liquor. What’s the magic number? That would be 150. “Culinarily, we can get a lot more adventurous with cocktails,” said co-owner Kaleb Harrell.

Hawkers was a local pioneer in the “street food” concept and presents a menu of small plates of dishes one might find being sold — or hawked — in cities throughout Asia.

Harrell, who owns and operates Hawkers with partners Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho, said Tuesday, “We’ve been really cautious about building our infrastructure” and not growing too fast.

He added that he and his partners have learned a lot about growing beyond a one-location business. “We’ve learned something different with each opening,” he said. The Neptune Beach Hawkers “really gave us the model for going forward.”

Not that all the new Hawkers will be cookie-cutter identical. “Yes, we want to scale, and yes, we want to grow,” he said, “ but we want each one to have its own character.”

In addition to the new Orlando location, which is looking at a November debut, the partners are planning a Hawkers for Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward to open in 2018. It will be the company’s first location outside of Florida. Harrell said the company was very close to finalizing a location for South Florida, in Delray Beach.

In addition, Hawkers’ corporate headquarters will be moving to “the heart of downtown” Orlando from the current Clermont location in November. An announcement of the exact location is expected soon.

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