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In 1996, Melvin Liufau decided to take his traditional Samoan fire knife dancing skills into the kitchen. The result? Anaheim’s Matiki Island Barbecue.
This coming Spring, Las Vegas will gain their own branch at 333 W St. Louis Ave., functioning as a sort of cloud kitchen.
What Now Las Vegas spoke with Liufau’s niece, Riandra Doda, who will be overseeing their Las Vegas expansion.
“Most of our dishes are grilled on the fire,” Doda said. “We call it island barbecue because we’re inspired by food from all over the Polynesian islands. Most people are accustomed to Hawaiian barbecue, which we do offer, but that’s not the whole menu. Above all, we really prioritize our sauce. That’s what our fans really love.”
The Polynesian-inspired restaurant first began in Anaheim but has since branched out to three additional California locations. Unlike their flagship restaurant, the Las Vegas location will be modeled as a “Matiki Express,” through which customers can either order on a kiosk outside of the kitchen or place an order for delivery.
The demand for Polynesian food in Vegas has been high, Doda explained.
“We’re very excited to come to Las Vegas,” she said. “We’ve had so many customers who visit our California locations from Vegas ask us to open a restaurant here. Las Vegas is the ninth island after all. We’re happy to be bringing this not only to the Polynesian community of Las Vegas, but also the whole city.”
What Now Las Vegas recently reported on another new 333 W St. Louis Ave. tenant, Picanha Steak Restaurant. According to Doda, many new restaurants will be moving into this kitchen space to offer takeout. Matiki Island Barbecue has yet to set a grand opening date, but they have their sights set on a first-quarter debut.