KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chef Sean Priester opened his soul food restaurant called Soul in May
Before it opened Monday morning, the eatery at the corner of Waialae Avenue and St. Louis Drive made somebody's hit list.
"I lost a lot of material, a lot of professional photographs of food and graphic design," owner and chef Sean Priester said.
He said burglars cut power lines to silence alarms.
Shoe marks show where they kicked in the window over the counter.
They stole his iPod, cash, and the most valuable item -- his laptop computer.
"I just started up a new QuickBooks program," he said. "I got the best one you can get. All that bookkeeping was in there."
Not just bookkeeping but payroll records, his professional portfolio and his recipes, the blueprints for the other cooks in the kitchen.
"I don't particularly cook from recipes. But in order to run a business and have the consistency that you need in a business, then you have recipes," Priester said.
He estimates his losses at $5,000. That's a big bite for a business that started in a lunch wagon.
But customers have been coming through.
"We were heartbroken that chef's business got broken into and we wanted to support his business," Garry Yee said.
The thieves also hit Priester's neighbors, Uni-Cuts hair salon and The Fat Greek restaurant.
Every few hours he checks Craigslist to see if his laptop shows up.
Priester said a lot of time, labor and love was lost to thieves who helped themselves to the secrets of his soul food and a whole lot more.