HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is finally a food option for travelers flying out of the Mauka Concourse at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, that section of the airport had been without a restaurant since it opened nearly two years ago.

Ryan Marinier was waiting to fly back home and trying to find something to snack on. But he noticed limited options. 

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Marinier said, “My mom just walked around she said there’s nothing really around here so you know when this is open it’s definitely going to add something.”

The Mauka Market is the newest eatery at Honolulu’s airport, it is a concept years in the making. The HMSHost Vice President of Operation John Richmond said the pandemic caused some delays.

Richmond said, “It took us a long time to re-staff the passenger levels are still coming back, they are not in every airport back to 2019 levels.”

The permitting process with the City also took time, HMSHost had to resubmit building plans several times making corrections until those were approved. 

Richmond said, “Just think we need to stay on top of it and make sure we are communicating properly.”

Now open, the restaurant along with an adjacent self-checkout convenience store offers local flavors and a selection of premium beverages. 

The Hawaii Department Of Transportation Airports Division Deputy Director Ford Fuchigami said they are still working on filling some of the empty retail spaces. 

“The retail space again we are in negotiations with the duty-free shops to see when they are going to be able to open,” Fuchigami said. “And again because of the pandemic, a lot of them lost basically revenues, they lost capital investment so now that business is coming back they are ready to reinvest in the airports is what it comes down to.”

HMSHost Senior Director of Operations Honolulu Chris Kadohiro said they are working on another concept inside the Mauka concourse, this one would cater to morning passengers. 

He said, “The current design is more of a cafe type of experience we’re looking to make sure we represent Hawaii there as well.”

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Kadohiro said they are working with their contractor to avoid delays on the new project.