After 67 years of serving up local favorites, the iconic Like Like Drive Inn on Keeaumoku Street is closing its doors for good. It’s fallen victim to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like all the other restaurants, the Coronavirus crisis closed their dining room. Owner Julie Tateyama says they tried doing take out and delivery orders but it didn’t go as well as they’d hoped.
“We were hoping to reopen later but with the extension of the closing of dining rooms and because we’re not a takeout order restaurant, it was rough but we had decided that we’re going to officially close on April 30.
Tateyama’s grandparents, James and Alice Nako, started the business in 1953 and it’s been run by the family ever since.
“We were located on the corner. It was a small restaurant with more car hop service,” she said.
It wasn’t just the food that brought customers back to this eatery but also the familiar faces. Easy to find considering some of the employees have been working here for decades. So telling about 50 of her workers the sad news, Tateyama says was the hardest part.
“It’s still hard because they’ve been working for us for so long,” Tateyama said. “A lot of them have been here for 40 some years or close to 50 years.”
But Tateyama is filled with appreciation to all of her customers and employees who were like family.
“You guys are the best. I don’t know what we would’ve done without all our customers and all our employees. We wouldn’t have been able to run the business this long for 67 years if it wasn’t for them.”