A Taste of the Islands in Monroe, Indiana

By Eric Olson

October 12, 2012 Updated Oct 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM EDT

MONROE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)-Monroe Indiana has a lot for a small town, a big Agra business, and Zurcher is a huge regional tire distributor. And Monroe has something unexpected here in the midwest..a taste of the Hawaiian islands.

Welcome to the Shaka Shack, a sunny little oasis for good refreshment, good company and a hint of the islands. Matt Moore’s the owner, born and raised here but lived for years in Hawaii, married a Hawaiian and came back home to realize his dream.

“It’s really Hawaii themed” says Matt, “because my wife being from Hawaii I wanted to make her feel a little more at home.”

The Shaka Shack’s bright, colorful and busy…evidence of a changing demographic in this small farm town.

“The clientele, its elementary kids all the way up to I’ve got a biker group that comes in here,” Matt says, “bicycle group comes in here and they’re in their ‘80’s and they’re like, ‘Oh we love this place it’s so bright and refreshing.’”

“Kids from school come here,” says customer Kristy Deathe. “They bring their laptops they got wifi I bring the kids here in the evenings and we hang out.”

Matt Moore’s also a minister at a Decatur church though he doesn’t mix his two callings. But he says he wants to reach out to folks…he let’s local high school rock bands perform in the place on weekends. He says he wants the Shaka Shack to be an oasis of its own to the folks in his hometown.

“It’s not refreshment with drinks but mental, emotional, spiritual,” Matt says. “Just to have a place to come in here and detox and exhale.”

Eric Olson, out in Your Country.

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