HONOLULU (KHON2) — Changes are coming for some businesses as they make way for a new housing project on Piikoi Street. For a popular ramen spot that’s been around for nearly 30 years, it’s the end of an era.
Many of the places on Piikoi Street have plans to relocate to a nearby location. But the folks at Taiyo Ramen say when it’s time to move, then it’s time for them to retire.
It’s not clear yet when everyone has to move. Business owners say they’re on a month-to-month lease. They’ve been told that a high-rise housing project will be built connected to the mall.
“I’m not going to move, everybody’s asking but I’m not planning to move, just going to retire,” said owner Sun Nam Lee.
She and her husband have enjoyed providing favorites such as fried rice, katsu curry and oxtail ramen for customers from near and far.
“All over, Waipahu, Kaneohe, Kona, Maui, all over customers come,” said Lee.
They spent 13 years at a different location, where Target is now located. Back then they were open from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. So they lived on two to three hours of sleep a night.
“I worked 17 hours, 17 hours every day, my husband too, seven days a week yeah,” said Lee.
Like other restaurants, they struggled when COVID hit and survived on takeout. Takeout remains a popular option. She also struggled with some health issues that forced her to stay home.
“About 10 years, I didn’t work. Then I came back because of COVID making me work,” she said.
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She was hoping someone could take over but their two daughters aren’t interested. So when that day comes to pack up and leave, Lee said it will be time for her and her husband to take it easy.