Jane’s Fountain, long-time Liliha restaurant struggling, but hopes to survive pandemic


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Located on Liliha Street, Jane’s Fountain has been a staple in the community for over 80 years.

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The small, humble restaurant serves local style comfort food.

However, it’s not just the affordable prices and home cooking that has been attracting customers for decades.

“Some people may say it’s dingy, whereas, people who’ve grown up used to the place, it reminds them of the past,” said Julia Kan, the owner’s daughter.

When stepping inside Jane’s Fountain, customers are seemingly transported to the past.

“So we have bright orange booths, which a lot of people remember when they come in, and we have a jukebox that uses 45s,” Kan explained about how the restaurant has stayed the same over the years.

Bronco Woodlyn is a long-time customer of Jane’s Fountain. He said the restaurant’s old school feel is what makes it so special.

“We don’t see too much places like this,” Woodlyn said about his favorite spot. “The price is right for what you’re buying. I don’t know, all I can say is it’s just like home cooking.”

Julia Kan grew up at Jane’s Fountain. Her mother, Karen Kan, has been working there for decades.

In fact, it was one of Karen Kan’s first jobs after immigrating to Hawaii from China. Now, Karen Kan is the owner.

“She started out with helping in the kitchen, and she kind of worked her way through,” Kan’s daughter explained. “She knows how to waitress and how to cook as well.”

In the little diner’s 80 year history, it has for the most part remained the same.

Even the cash register is old school.

However, because of the pandemic, the cash flowing in has changed drastically.

“Significantly down. Sometimes we don’t even make maybe a third of what it used to be in previous years,” Kan said.

“We’re just trying to get by like everybody else.”

Julia Kan, Owner’s Daughter

Kan admitted her mom is not positive how long they will be able to last during these tough times.

“We’re not sure, but, we’re just trying our best to get through each month because our customers want us to stay open,” Kan said.

Woodlyn said locals need to support long-time businesses like Jane’s Fountain to keep them around for years to come.

“This is where I come and eat,” Woodlyn said. “This is where I order my food and, of course, there’s no place like here. To me, there’s no place like here. It’s like home.”

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