Restaurants serving community for decades say goodbye at the end of the month

Local News

Many changes are already happening this year and that includes more restaurants closing. We’re talking about places that have been serving the community for decades.

Patrons we spoke to say they’re sad to see their favorite places go and hope whatever replaces these eateries will be local businesses.

It was small but it’s been a staple in the Moiliili community for 31 years. The family tells us their Japanese restaurant “Yamagen” will be closing its doors on the last day of the month.

“I’m kind of disappointed because they been here forever but I think the owner Mr. Sato I think he’s retiring. I think he’s tried,” said Minnie Boyd of Moiliili, who lives next door to Yamagen.

Over at Ward Village, it’s the end of the run for Kakaako Kitchen.

“I feel that feasibly it’s not worth it anymore to do business anymore. Everything going up, all costs are going up so we thought that it’s the perfect time to get out,” said Kakaako Kitchen Owner Russell Siu. “I’m going to miss talking to customers and making people happy with our food.”

February 28th will be the last day this restaurant here serves up local favorites and plate lunches.

“We bought two just in case we don’t get to come back before the end of February to get our char siu chicken salad,” said Megan Dolores from Salt Lake.

“My mom used to own a restaurant and being a small business owner in this environment right now is definitely not easy. The rents are going higher, there’s more competition,” said Ben Yeung of Ewa Beach.

Over the 20 years, he’s been here, Siu has noticed the customer demographic has changed.

“The Baby Boomers like 40 or 50 would come out a lot. Now they are older so different generations all look for different types of restaurants and I think that changed a lot of the shops too,” said Siu.

In a statement the Howard Hughes Corporation says:
“Chef Russell and the Kaka’ako Kitchen team have been a wonderful part of Ward Village. The evolution of Kaka’ako continues to bring a great new lifestyle to our urban core. We continue to talk with numerous businesses who are interested in coming into Ward Village, as we expand the retail, food and beverage experience that Ward Village has become known for in our community. As additional information – Three new eateries will be opening soon in Anaha – Han No Daidokoro, Istanbul, and Island Brew Coffeehouse. Roger Dunn golf shop will open in Ward Center, adjacent to the Kaka’ako Kitchen space will open this summer. We don’t have exact dates for these yet.”

This adds to a string of long-time restaurants closing including Gordon Biersh and Hooters. Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will shutdown next week and in March the closures of Jimbo Restaurant and Pint and Jigger.

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