Share

Omni Hut closes it’s doors after 58 years in business

Omni Hut closes it's doors after 58 years in businessCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Omni Hut closes it's doors after 58 years in businessCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

photoCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

photoCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

photoCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

photoCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

“It is true,” she said.  “The world is built for corporations not small business.  We struggle along.”   

A shortage of customers was never a problem for the Omni Hut. Several dozen customers waited patiently in long lines that formed starting after 9 a.m. Friday morning for the restaurant to open its doors for the final time.  

Many have been coming since they were young children.  

“At that particular time, it was the atmosphere. That’s when the Smyrna Airbase was here, and the Polynesian waitresses would come in from overseas and it was really a Polynesian setting,” customer Rick Poole said.  “But, more than just for the food, different from anything else in town.”  

Customers said this is a family-friendly restaurant and the Polynesian food is next to none.  

U.S. Air Force Major James Walls opened the restaurant back in 1960 and it has been a Smyrna staple ever since.  

“There have been so many memories here that I’m just devastated that they are closing,” said customer Nancy Tenpenny.  “We’re certainly going to miss this place, I wished we could keep it open.”  

Polly said it is the customers that she will miss the most.  

“What can you say,” Walls-Balahani said.  “They are the ones that have allowed this business to survive all these decades.”  

Glenn Randolph’s wife introduced him to Omni Hut after they got married.  He knows the struggle restaurants like this one is facing.  

“A great deal of sadness,” Randolph said.  “I personally worked for another family-owned restaurant for 17 years and through coming here I’ve gotten to know Ms. Polly very personally and I understand what it’s like with a family-run business to make it and survive.    

He hates to see Omni Hut go out of business.  

“A place that’s been around since the 60’s disappearing from the landscape, it’s sad on a lot of levels, not just the taste of cuisine but the iconic nature of it,” Randolph said.  

Other customers wish they were able to prevent it from closing.  

“If my age group was able to stand and work, we would all be here helping Polly; we’ll all be here,” Tenpenny said.  

Shutting up shop will now give Polly more time to spend with family.  

“I got two grandkids that I enjoy,” Walls-Balakhani said.  “So, you know, there is a lot to do out here still.”  

The restaurant closed its doors briefly at the beginning of the year but re-opened for lunch only.  

Walls-Balakhani said she will be soon auctioning off items from the restaurant.  

That announcement will come on Omni Hut’s Facebook page.