KAHULUI, Hawaii (KHON2) – The popular Maui restaurant Da Kitchen is closing.
Tomorrow was supposed to be their last day, but due to popular demand, you still have a few more days to enjoy their ono food.
The restaurant is known for its great local grinds, which it has been serving residents and visitors alike for the past 20 years.
Owner Mariah Brown says it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they realized just how much all those visitors played a role in their success.
“In the midst of constantly being busy, lines out the door, and just serving people and creating experiences, this happened,” Brown said. “I was like oh my gosh I didn’t realize that almost 80 percent of our customers were tourists.”
The Kihei location shut down earlier this month, and Brown says customers have been pouring in since the announcement of shutting down the Kahului location.
Brown says there has been no shortage of aloha from the local and global community.
“And I’m looking at these messages and these people from all around the world,” said Brown. “I’m like oh my god, we’ve become a worldwide brand. This little restaurant in Maui. I don’t even understand how that happened. Everybody that I ever saw or served was a part of this journey with us and literally comes arms wide open. They’re bringing love and gifts and cakes and hugs and tears, saying ‘You can’t leave us.’”
Despite calls from Maui Mayor Mike Victorino to support Da Kitchen and other local small businesses, Brown says it’s time.
However, just because Da Kitchen is saying aloha for now, Brown says not to rule out a return.
“It’s definitely not easy,” said Brown. “I mean we’ve been in business for 20 years. It’s pretty amazing to see how much a part of the community we have become. After 20 years these people are my family. I mean I grew up with everybody. I’m really going to miss them.”
Latest Stories on KHON2
- Social Scene: Dance battle
- Newsfeed Now: First Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines shipped out; Sisters separated by adoption find each other by chance
- Merck to help make J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine, White House official says
- LIVE: FBI chief testifying for the first time since Capitol riot
- $15 minimum wage all but dead in big COVID relief bill