HONOLULU (KHON2) — The coronavirus pandemic hit small businesses hard, especially local restaurants, where they were forced to close their doors and only offer takeout.

Christopher Rahman, the co-owner of Cafe Maharani, said when the shutdown first happened, they were concerned about how takeout would impact their business. 

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“In the beginning, just like every other business, we were pretty scared,” said Rahman. “We didn’t know what the future was to hold.”

According to Rahman, they had to create a new website to allow people to order their Indian food online.

“Online helped a lot,” said Rahman. “We never had that before, so we started doing online as well as a lot of takeouts.”

Jocya Arafat, the owner of Cafe Maharani, said he was happily surprised at how many people continued to support their restaurant. 

“We really appreciate every single person who supported us during this time,” said Arafat. “It was really, really helpful for us to stay in business.”

Arafat said during the pandemic sales went up from word of mouth by local customers bringing in new people wanting to give Indian cuisine a try.

“Most people when they think of Indian food what comes to their mind is it’s spicy,” said Arafat. “It’s not spicy, trust me, Indian food is not all about spice.”

Cafe Maharani is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. To order online or to look at their menu click here

Arafat said some of their most popular items are naan bread, butter chicken curry, lamb kababs, and samosas.

He said when tasting their food, it tastes like home, and he is happy to have continued serving customers throughout the pandemic.

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“Try Indian food for the first time, try the flavor you know, put the curry or the kabab, or the naan bread in your mouth, and close your eyes,” said Arafat.