HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite many of the restrictions being lifted challenges remain for Hawaii restaurants. Two popular spots that have been around for decades just announced they are shutting down.
M by Jeremy Shigekane previously known as Chef Mavro is shutting down after 24 years.
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“There was a point where all the tourists were coming in and they stopped. And since then it’s been hard and we’ve been trying to fight until now,” said Shigekane, M’s owner and executive chef.
Kobe Japanese Steak House on Maui shut down temporarily in December but owners have decided to make it permanent, ending its run of 36 years. Owners have said it’s not for lack of customers.
“This time of the year we have repeat customers that come every year. People that couldn’t come during the pandemic, they want to come back. Every day I get numerous calls, when are you gonna reopen?” said Martha Haleakala, Kobe Steak House’s owner.
It’s because they can’t find enough chefs. Haleakala said they had six and went down to four and had to close temporarily when they went down to two chefs.
“We called every guy that used to work here. Can you help us out for a couple of days until we get back on our feet? And we got no takers, so we just haven’t been able to reopen,” Haleakala said.
The Hawaii Restaurant Association said at last count 77 restaurants shut down statewide since the pandemic. Even with most restrictions about to be lifted, a spokeswoman said many of the challenges remain, such as lack of workers, shortage of supplies, and rising costs.
“I think it’s sad. I think that’s life at the same time, but I think it’s sad. I definitely feel what they’re going through. It’s hard to keep the restaurant open. what do you do?” said Shigekane.
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Both owners are grateful to the customers for keeping the restaurants around for so long. They urge everyone to keep supporting the industry.