The restaurant itself was named after the theme song of the 1988 movie “Cocktail:” “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys.
“We reserved that [name] in ‘92. We thought, ‘Well, if we use it, we use it; if we don’t, we don’t,’” Gary said. “We always really enjoyed taking our vacations in the Caribbean, and the Caribbean has Mexican food all around it.”
The Sipps and their partners, Greg and Stacey Jorden, officially opened Kokomo’s on Nov. 25 in the space the Sipps had always thought about.
Gary and Belinda, two lifelong residents of Oak Ridge North, were brought together by their love of restaurants and food when they met at Belinda’s sister’s restaurant in Conroe, where Gary worked, for a blind date.
“My family has always been in the restaurant business, and he just wanted to get into it,” Belinda said.
Kokomo’s interior is designed to feel like a “mystical Caribbean island” accented by hues of blue and yellow, they said. Belinda’s niece designed every aspect of the interior from the beach-inspired bar to the lights made from painted tomato cans. The Sipps aim to tie family and love into all aspects of the restaurant, they said.
“The carne guisada is very good—it’s a beef stew with potatoes, just like my mom used to make,” Belinda said.
The menu features classic Mexican food with a tropical aspect, such as sweet and savory homemade empanadas, fajitas and roasted street corn.
“We have our street corn, which is something really cool here. Everybody loves street corn. We have a really good recipe that works out really well,” Gary said.
Kokomo’s also does catering and often partners with Conroe ISD to cater different events. The menu has vegan options and a variety of signature tropical drinks. The Sipps said they consider the restaurant’s staff to be their extended family.
“If something happens to them, we’re concerned about it, and we’ll try to help them,” Belinda said
The couple’s favorite part of the restaurant is being able to run it together with that extended family.
“We just have such a great group. We get along; they make it fun, and the atmosphere is very relaxed,” Belinda said.
Kokomo’s Mexican Cantina and Restaurant
26850 I-45 N., Oak Ridge North
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.