Biz Buzz: Hawaiian food truck a popular lunch stop for customers - East Idaho News
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Biz Buzz: Hawaiian food truck a popular lunch stop for customers

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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.



Couple serves tacos, authentic Hawaiian food out of Idaho Falls food truck

chicken and trailer pic
Chicken dish available at U Down Hayn Hotplate in Idaho Falls | Lisa Werner

IDAHO FALLS – Lisa Werner began selling tacos out of a little cart in Idaho Falls more than a year ago. Today, she’s the owner of a new restaurant, and tacos are only part of it.

U Down Hayn Hotplate opened on April 2 in a food truck formerly occupied by Fire & Smoke BBQ in the parking lot next to Planet Doom on 1st Street. It offers an authentic Hawaiian menu that includes mochiko chicken, which is marinated in sweet rice flour and deep fried.

There’s also kalua pork — slow-cooked, tender, shredded pork — and spam musubi, which is a slice of spam caramelized in a brown sugar and soy sauce, wrapped in seaweed and served on top of rice.

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She and her husband, Joe-Kyle, with whom she owns the business, just started offering tacos and quesadillas this week at the request of customers.

As Lisa recalls the last month of business, she’s amazed at the response.

“My first day, I made so much money and we were so backed up. It was insane!” Lisa tells “Door Dash is keeping us busier than people coming to the window at the moment.”

She purchased the trailer from Leaf Call, who moved into another trailer across the parking lot and she’s happy to support Bryan Lovell, her friend from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, who hosts a swap meet at that location every spring to raise funds for the D.A.R.E. program.

RELATED | Biz Buzz: Swap meet for local nonprofit kicks off Saturday

“I met him when I was doing the taco thing,” she says. “Brian has been awesome. He’s amazing and he supports us 100%. The money we are charged for rent goes to support the DARE program so we definitely wanted to support that instead of going elsewhere.”

Lisa acquired a large customer base selling tacos and quesadillas at various community events last year. It was through a customer that she connected with Call. She was planning to continue selling tacos but Call suggested she sell Hawaiian food.

“At first, I was reluctant because I didn’t know how to make Hawaiian food. My husband (is from Hawaii) and he occasionally made teriyaki chicken, but I wasn’t too interested in selling Hawaiian food,” says Lisa.

Her customers eventually suggested Hawaiian food as well and Lisa decided to put her passion for tacos aside. Delays related to COVID-19 prevented her from opening sooner, but Lisa says it was worth the wait.

If business continues to stay busy, Lisa would like to open another trailer in Ammon.

“I’ve had so many people ask me if we would go out there,” says Lisa. “I thought of doing (an actual) restaurant … but with inflation right now and how much rent is, I just feel like the food truck would be best.”

Regarding the name, Lisa says U Down Hayn Hotplate is a “pigeon-English” Hawaiian term that doesn’t mean anything.

U Down Hayn Hotplate is open Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nachos at U Down Hayn Hotplate | Lisa Werner


Bank CEO recognized with prestigious award

romrell pic
Tom Romrell | Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS – Tom Romrell, President & CEO of The Bank of Commerce, was recently awarded the CEO of Influence Award by Idaho Business Review.

Romrell is among 20 honorees from across the state of Idaho to receive the 2022 CEO of Influence Award. Winners were celebrated at a gala on Thursday, May 5th at the Boise Centre.

Recipients are chosen based on outstanding leadership and vision, competitiveness and innovation and community involvement.

Tom has been the President & CEO of The Bank of Commerce for over 24 years. He leads over 200 employees and 16 branches. Under Tom’s leadership, the bank has grown in asset size from $302 million to $1.9 Billion and from 13 branches to 16 branches throughout eastern Idaho and southwest Montana.

New device at Bingham Healthcare designed to improve surgical procedures for patients

BLACKFOOT – Bingham Healthcare is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of a new device to help improve invasive surgical procedures and you’re invited to see it.

The da Vinci Xi System has been optimized for multi-quadrant surgeries in the areas of gynecology, urology, thoracic, cardiac, and general surgery and provides greater precision, smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays, better clinical outcomes, and faster return to everyday activities.

As with all da Vinci Surgical Systems, the surgeon is 100% in control of the robotic-assisted da Vinci System, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body.

Bingham Healthcare is holding a special event on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. so people can try it out and see how it works. The hospital is at 98 Poplar Street in Blackfoot.


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