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.
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.”
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
Da Kitchen Maui (2 locations)
Formaggio Wine Bar Honolulu
Ha Coffee Bar Kauai
Kakaako Kitchen Honolulu
Kobe Japanese Steak House Honolulu
Ruth’s Chris Steak House (multiple locations)
Top of Waikiki Honolulu
Uncle’s Fish Market at Pier 38 Honolulu
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.