Chowder House to close after more than three decades - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Chowder House to close after more than three decades

Eva Guerrero Eva Guerrero
Jorge Blanco Jorge Blanco
Shayna Pak Shayna Pak
Terry Rubasch Terry Rubasch
Kelly Ann Campbell Kelly Ann Campbell

By Zahid Arab bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)- The recession has reached yet another iconic Oahu restaurant.  Facing overwhelming operating and renovation costs, "The Chowder House" will close next month.

After more than 30-years of service, 23 people will lose their jobs and there won't be a place to get a cup of President Obama's favorite chowder anymore.

"What are you going to get? What did we get on our first date?," asked customer Mike Guerrero.

For Mike and Eva Guerrero, it's the spot sparks first flew.  They've been married for 11 years now.

"I remember we sat over there, so I'm glad we're back for one more time," said customer Eva Guerrero.

"It feels kind of happy sad, sad that it's closing," said Mike Guerrero.

It may seem like an ordinary restaurant.

"The best chowder around," said cook Romeo Cabils.

"We come after hours and have a few drinks," said customer Jorge Blanco.

"Good food, good service," said customer Shayna Pak.

But, at The Chowder House, customers are like family.  Terry Rubasch has bartended thirty years exactly, she's emotional.

"It's almost like I'm seeing someone die," said bartender Terry Rubasch.

"It's been a fixture here for so long," said customer Kelly Ann Campbell.

But, the owner decided to close.  General Growth Properties offered it a three year lease, but the restaurant says that wasn't enough time to recover from required renovation costs. Among those, $60,000 for a new grease trap.  Recently, other long-standing landmark restaurants have suffered the same fate, forced to close after not being able to afford operating costs. Among them: Brew Moon, Compadres, Rosie's Cantina and Nick's Fishmarket.

With the servings about to stop, the Guerreros consider snagging a menu as a momento.

"I'll put in my bag or something," said Eva Guerrero.

It may be a final meal, but they'll forever cherish their memories at The Chowder House.  The last day of business is September 20th. Until then, the restaurant says workers will apply at the owner's other restaurant Byron's Inn.

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