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Local Restaurant Brings Oahu’s North Shore to DFW

The fast-casual dining spot blends unique cuisine with a laid-back vibe.

If you find yourself on Oahu’s North Shore, you might be drawn to the food trucks parked along Kamehameha Highway. You won’t be able to ignore the lines of people waiting to order and devour what has become a major draw for tourists and locals alike—shrimp. Starting with Giovanni’s in 1993, each truck has a variation of garlic shrimp so good, that you might consider making a day of it and trying a bite from each one. 

If you don’t have plans to be in Hawaii anytime soon, you’re in luck. Coco Shrimp, a locally owned fast-casual restaurant with several locations in and around Fort Worth and the rest of the metroplex, has brought the iconic island concept to the mainland, and yes, it started in a food truck.

Issac Hadley grew up in Fort Worth and during the four years he attended BYU-Hawaii, he fell in love with not only the island but the food and the importance it plays in local culture. Upon returning to Fort Worth, he and his wife Lauren saved their money, built their first food truck, and showed up at local events with shrimp recipes created and perfected in a home kitchen. 

Through rewarding but hard work, the Coco Shrimp food truck found massive success, and a year or so after it first rolled onto the scene, Issac’s brother-in-law and sister moved from California to help with the business. From there, things only got busier, and it was in 2019 the group decided to open up a brick-and-mortar location on Bryan Ave. in downtown Fort Worth. “When they opened the restaurant, it was just a much better experience. They could serve more shrimp, and the wait times were not as bad, but it was just as popular,” says Coco Shrimp Marketing and Social Media Manager Trevor Carver.

The second Coco Shrimp opened on Heritage Trace Blvd. in North Fort Worth in 2021, and things have taken off since then. “Everybody loves it. There aren’t a lot of unique restaurants in Fort Worth. It’s something that’s not a burger, BBQ, or Mexican food,” says Carver. Their third and fourth locations are in Watauga and Denton, respectively, and in the past couple of years, locations have opened in Keller, Richardson, and Plano. 

What makes Coco Shrimp so unique? It’s something different than what you might expect when of Hawaiian cuisine. And the vibe of each restaurant is infused with Polynesian culture “The owners wanted to bring the island vibe to Texas. It's an experience eating at any of the locations—each one is a bit different. They don't copy and paste the formula,” says Carver. You’ll find hand-painted murals in each location and a casual atmosphere that makes dining out enjoyable for everyone. 

The offerings are simple, but the flavors are complex and tasty. There are five shrimp plates—the iconic coconut shrimp, garlic butter shrimp, sweet and spicy shrimp, spicy shrimp, and lemon herb. You can order a plate of six shrimp accompanied by a serving of rice drizzled with garlic butter and a side salad, or opt for the sampler platter, which is three styles of shrimp (the best way to try a little bit of everything). 

The new and very popular Coco Tacos are served on a bed of rice and topped with fresh lettuce, a sweet chili sauce, and house-made cilantro lime dressing. They even have a fun mini plate for kids with three shrimp of their choice, just enough rice and salad, and a small drink. 

“I always refer to it as the In n Out of shrimp because you can make little combos and add on a few things, but it’s very simple—we don’t try to complicate it,” says Carver.

Keeping it simple has paid off for the founders of Coco Shrimp. A College Station location has a Fall 2024 opening, and after that, they hope to expand into Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. And while they have plans to expand even further down the line, they strive to make each location special. “We make people happy every time we serve up a plate. We’re presenting them with a meal they love. Either they’ve heard good things or they’ve tried and they’re back for more,” says Carver.