Aloha, Like Like Drive Inn; iconic restaurant closes doors for good

Coronavirus

For 67 years, Likelike Drive Inn has served customers local comfort foods from dawn to dusk.

April 30, 2020 marked the official last day for the iconic Keaaumoku Street restaurant.

The owners have said they’re unable to recoup losses suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The people that worked so hard to have this successful 67 years… to end it like this is just hard for me to accept for them,” said employee Jasmine Higa.

Founded in 1953 by James and Alice Nako, Likelike Drive Inn has been run by the family ever since.

It had been closed since April 1, after trying to survive on take-out options when restaurant dine-in services were shuttered in March.

Posters plastered the windows on its last day, filled with messages of aloha. Longtime customers like Alan Ahyo bid the iconic restaurant goodbye.

“At my old age. This has been the place for me for over 50 years. I can’t believe it’s closing. I can’t believe it. This is the last of the last. The mom and pop stores are gone. This is part of the last ones,” said Ahyo.

For Luana Shidaki, an employee at the restaurant for 16 years, “Our relationships went beyond just being coworkers. We are a family here, and that’s the saddest part of all.”

Like tens of thousands of others across Hawaii who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the employees are trying to find a way to move on.

“They have been a huge part of the community and they’re gonna be missed. They’re never gonna be forgotten,” said Jasmine Higa.

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