HONOLULU (KHON2) — Another one of Hawaii’s favorite restaurants is closing down.
Sushi King will serve its last rolls and miso soup on Sunday, June 20.
Sushi King is royalty to both students and residents alike in Moilili as it is within walking distance of the University of Hawaii. Despite a successful run during the pandemic, they will be closing their doors 30 years to the month after they first opened.
New property owners gave way to a disagreement on the lease, so Sushi King made the decision to close up shop.
“I go home and night and it’s still a little shocking because the closure was a little more sudden for us than we expected,” Manager Tez Hartney said.
Tez and her sister Sylvia help run the restaurant. Their mother Shu-Lee Kondo opened Sushi King in 1991. Tez credits the loyal regulars for keeping the business thriving for three decades.
“I actually opened this restaurant 30 years ago I moved back from the mainland 4 years ago and still see the same people that come through, now they have their own children some are coming in with their grandchildren. The history is kind of crazy,” Hartney said.
Regulars KHON2 spoke to say they love the staff, but the consistent ono menu keeps them coming back.
“I love it because they’re the only guys who can do the salmon katsu the best way. I love their sauce,” regular patron Brian Tamondong said.
He started coming with his parents in the 1990s. He now goes every Friday and Saturday from his home in Mililani-Mauka.
He says he gets nostalgic about his days at UH when Sushi King was the go-to spot, no matter what time of day.
“After the game you come in here and get the jumbo platter price they called it the happy hour price and this place actually closed at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” Tamondong said.
A bright yellow sign now hangs above the entrance to say “mahalo” to customers, until next time.
“We come down here once a month and have for years but I’m sure they’re going to be opening in the area so I look forward to that,” Danny Dolan said.
Yes, the business is not gone for good. The restaurant is still figuring out where to reopen and when.
“People are in tears when they hear that we’re closing but I hope that they know it’s not a farewell, it’s just a little pause. Until we find a new location,” Hartney said.
With a new location comes a new menu. Hartney says they might add more vegetarian items, but customers can still expect the fan favorites.