Food Courts to Fine Dining: Hawaii Restaurants Shutter or Change

Word yesterday that iconic Alan Wong’s Honolulu restaurant will be closed permanently. And then today came news that Town Kaimuki will also close permanently later this month. Those come following a run of other announcements of Hawaii restaurants closing. Alan Wong was on King Street for 25 years and was known for high-end cuisine and well-known guests including the Obama’s. They have been closed since August, but now that will be permanent. The restaurant’s furnishings are being sold online on November 15, through Oahu Auctions and Liquidations. Ed Kenny’s Town was once reviewed as among the world’s best restaurants.

Here’s a partial list of what won’t be around on Oahu including a personal favorite.

Jimbo Noodle Shop

It feels like we lost a member of the family with this closure. We have many personal memories dining here. It was tucked 50 feet back from the sidewalk on King Street. Their homemade Udon noodles were worth the wait. Once you arrived you put your name on the list outside to wait for a table. It was casual and fun. But the restaurant was small which would make social distancing difficult.

International Marketplace Foodhall

The Street food hall is closing this week. The creation of celebrity chef Michael Mina began in 2017 following the renovation of the marketplace. It featured 11 food stations with international varieties.  One of the issues was the food hall was based on communal dining, which doesn’t work any longer. They had been offering a takeout option. The company said, “It made it kind of impossible to recover from the months and months and months of lost revenue.”

Tony Roma’s

Another Waikiki icon, Tony Roma’s closed permanently last week. An announcement was made on their Instagram page. “Please stay in touch with our Instagram for further updates. From the entire staff here at Tony Roma’s, much mahalo and so much love we will miss you all!!! Stay safe, stay healthy.”

Here’s a partial list of other notable Hawaii restaurant closures:

Tip: For a more complete list of closed restaurants, also see the foodagogo resource page where you can sort by island.

Art Cafe Hemingway Kauai

Charthouse Waikiki

Da Kitchen Maui (2 locations)

Fish Honolulu

Formaggio Wine Bar Honolulu

Ha Coffee Bar Kauai

Kakaako Kitchen Honolulu

Kobe Japanese Steak House Honolulu

Miyako Honolulu

Nobu Honolulu

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (multiple locations)

Top of Waikiki Honolulu

Uncle’s Fish Market at Pier 38 Honolulu

Survivor creativity.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association said what’s happened has “unleashed some of the best and the brightest in owners and operators of restaurants. There are some really genius people out there doing things right now.” Here are a couple of examples.

Restaurant owner Peter Merriman is determined to survive and is making big changes. On Oahu, their Merriman Kakaako location has gone to what they term “a new, COVID-friendly experience!” The restaurant has been functioning largely as a fast-casual outdoor dining establishment, although as of last week they started taking limited indoor reservations too.

The company said of their new experience, “We see a whole group of people now that are regulars for this outdoor street burger beer garden that we never saw inside.”

At Buzz’s Original Steakhouse, a 60-year tradition in Kailua, owners decided to find less costly menu alternatives needed to adapt to a cost-conscious take-out environment.

Are you mourning the loss of any of your favorites? This is a reminder to support the restaurants and businesses you love during this difficult time. 

Image courtesy of Merrimans.


35 thoughts on “Food Courts to Fine Dining: Hawaii Restaurants Shutter or Change”

  1. Aloha from Kaua’i,

    Please note that our Beloved Ha Coffee Bar & attached Kuleana co-working space have transcended vs closed..

    Now collaborating with Kaua’i Beer Company, Ha Coffee has relocated next door to them at 4265 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766. co-working has relocated to Kukui Grove Mall next to the delicious Deli and Bread Connection!…much better parking;)

    These two .orgs are the gift of Jeff & Kim Adams, who created them over eight years ago.

    MANY MAHALOS to them and others who helped create these two community oriented establishments.

    I imagine these two non-profits will do even better out from under base rents exceeding 15k/month….Oahu landlord gave them 7 days to move two businesses during a pandemic.

    Maybe we should look at how we are or are not taking care of each other right here amongst neighbor islands during this global challenge.

    The previous landlord, or course, blames his attorney for the bombastically disgusting way this transition occurred.

    Hopefully, someone will warn the new tenants..

  2. Hopefully the Dong Yang Inn up in Wahiawa has survived. I thoroughly enjoyed getting takeout from there often while stationed at Schofield in the 80s, and was happy to go again when I visited in ’09.

  3. When the economy comes back, what are chances some / all of these will come back? I mean, people need to get back to work at some point, right?

  4. My condolences – I feel your pain and sad. Some or all of these places all were hurt due to nothing they did. I pray everyone affected ends up on their feet sooner than later. I went through a similar life changing event recently and still have not ended up on my feet yet in some respects, so I know it is hard especially if one has been working hard and surviving, with no expectation of anything changing a positive future. I can only offer some advice:
    – pray often
    – make the effort to look for work, do not postpone it to “tomorrow”. You can take a break later
    – write your elected officials to find ways of helping you, to bridge you until COVID is handled and the economy comes back

  5. Here in a red state restaurants are fully open. Sad to see Hawaii is a blue state. Maybe you’ll change your mind after everything is shut down. Hopefully

  6. Thanks for the listing of gone places. Jimbo’s is a loss. A real local place, a place for people who want good honest food, not a show or to see and be seen. Recall getting there too late on at least one occasion to be told they were out of broth. No brith, no udon. Other items on the menu were good, but the udon in broth…

    As for Alan Wongs, the food was usually terrific but the slack attitude and service seem to say “You’re probably a tourist and we won’t see you again anyway.” It was always the same, you always waited for 10-15 minutes at the bar.

    Haven’t seen anything on Mavro’s, our top special dinner place. Hope Buzz’s in Kailua hangs on. Nothing like a fresh piece of local fish grilled over wood.

  7. Mahalo Beat of Hawai’i for always being there in these challenging (and sad) times.
    It just keeps coming.
    Blessings to all.

  8. I don’t want to look at that list come next spring. So sad and totally avoidable. I feel really bad for all those employees being recalled to work, just to let go again in a couple of month.

    1. Correct; totally avoidable with new, more sustainable business models that support businesses as community resources and treasures.

      The ridiculous rent machine model = not sustainable.

    1. Amazing what socialized healthcare and good education can do. Also, they are enacting a new lockdown due to rising cases and they have a couple of deaths a day.

  9. Liberal politicians are destroying their economy. I live in the midwest and we have everything open and are mindful to take precautions. Let each individual decide how much risk to take or not take!

  10. This is so incredibly sad 😢. I yelled “Nooooooo” as I was reading and my daughter was super concerned that something was very wrong. She’s was right….. every visit we have enjoyed the iconic Chart House in Waikiki and Da Kitchen in Maui was incredible!!! Was hoping to go again when we are there in April for the Maui Marathon 🌈
    Mahalo for all the concise information…. especially when it’s been changing by the hour at times 💜

  11. Really sad to hear about Da Kitchen. It was always our first stop after picking up the rental car. I hope they’ll be able to come back at some point in the future.

    1. Hi Matthew.

      Shirokiya is closed at least through next month. We’re not sure about the Waikiki food hall.


  12. Mahalo…but so sad. Fan of Ha Coffee Bar, Art Cafe Hemingway, Uncle’s at Pier 38, and of course Alan Wong’s and Nobu…All great in their special way!

    Mahalo for all the current info!

  13. Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi on the Big Island. Not sure it will survive. Amazing food! And Hukilau Lanai on Kauai- best food I’ve ever eaten. Praying those 2 in particular can survive.

    1. Hi Debbie.

      Thanks. Funny coincidence we’ve gone to all the same restaurants. Yes Bamboo in Hawi especially.


  14. I’m afraid Hawaii and much of the country is throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to COVID.
    These overly aggressive mandates have destroyed businesses, lives and families. I believe the economy is headed for a large correction and is propped up with low rates, stimulus from the Fed right now.
    I think we need to be more active in protecting, isolating and caring for the elderly, sick and at-risk. The rest of the population needs to be left alone.
    Unfortunately it seems that COVID discussions devolve into political debates and people tribalizing around this issue, though.

  15. So sorry to hear about Alan Wongs. We had dinner with our son and his wife there on our last Oahu trip. Great dinner, and fantastic dessert. What a shame. Suspect there will be more closures to come. Glad to see that Roy’s is doing ok, from everything I see on line. Sad.

        1. Hi Jon.

          Checked again and this time got that pop-up that said we are closed. Thanks for that.


        2. I called their number and they said they are planning on reopening “As soon as it is safe for our community and guests”. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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