Banán completes 4 guys’ dream, opens store in Manoa


Ellissa Bio

Banán is a place for food, art, friends, and laughter.

By Ellissa Bio, Staff Writer

With a little help from a Kickstarter fund and all of its supporters, Banán has expanded beyond the food truck and into a store on University Avenue. Opening on April 20, the four 23-year-old owners and entrepreneurs– Zak Barry, Matt Hong, Luke Untermann and Galen McCleary– have created a rad place for college students as well as the public to kick back and enjoy.

The four graduated from Punahou School and went their separate ways to attend college. They set out on their own individual paths. Little did they know they would grow up to seek the same dream.

Still remaining in touch throughout their studies, they reconnected in hopes of creating a successful business – something the world would love in a fun and awareness-raising direction. Ideas were brainstormed; banana ice cream was often brought up, and then came the plan.

The "Da Roots" Bowl is pretty as far as the eye can see, but make sure you enjoy a tasty ginger flavor!
Ellissa Bio
The “Da Roots” Bowl is pretty as far as the eye can see, but make sure you enjoy a tasty ginger flavor.

Hawaii is where their hearts lied and coincidentally one of the few states that commercially grows and sells bananas. So what better place to found their new baby than in paradise?

Ready to create a healthy farm-to-table alternative to frozen yogurt and acaí bowls, the four decided to move home. As for their baby, they would call it Banán.

And so it was. Zak, Matt and Luke met back home in September 2014. Galen returned from his summer travels in Asia, Matt from Burning Man in Nevada, Zak from road tripping across the United States, and Luke (who had been studying at the University of Hawaii) from traveling the globe with his professional surfer girlfriend, Carissa Moore.

To them, Banán is more than a food truck and a business but also serves as a channel for creativity. It pushes them to create new flavors, build fun shade structures, play rad beats, and educate themselves on Hawaii’s agricultural food systems.

Getting a store was always a part of the plan but temporarily out of the four’s budget – at least until they tested Banán’s waters for profitability. New to the entrepreneurial business, Zak, Matt, Luke and Galen made their first financial investment in buying a food truck as the location for their products.

Months passed, flavors developed, seating evolved, and a partnership with Kunia Country Farms for composting was made. The little food truck on Monsarrat Avenue was doing well among community members, family and friends, creating a perfect timing to find a new location.

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Ellissa Bio
The menu has a variety of flavors.

Today, the store menu includes “The Original” (banana flavor), “Chunkadelic” (mac-nut flavor), “Matcha” (green teas flavor), “The Amazon” (acai flavor), “Da works” (any flavor with unlimited toppings), “Riss Moore” (banana-acai flavor), “Stairway to Heaven” (greens flavor), and “Da Roots” (ginger root flavor).

Banán continues to experiment with new flavors, build more structures, meet with farmers, read up on both local and global food systems, and now the four brave guys who worked toward their dreams can say that they strive for new locations also.

Banán is open every day at 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays the store closes at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.