Zippy's patrons remember Sen. Inouye - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Zippy's patrons remember Sen. Inouye

Posted: Updated:
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Zippy's Restaurant in McCully on S. King Street is said to be a favorite of Senator Daniel Inouye. In fact, he grew up in the surrounding area, and it was here this morning, that many residents were reflecting on his passing.

"If there was one man in Hawaii that did so much, it would be him," said diner Roger Tanabe.

Residents are still stunned to learn that Daniel Inouye will no longer be representing them in Congress. Over five decades, Inouye shaped Hawaii by directing billions of dollars in federal funds to preserve, expand and secure the islands.

Inouye was a favorite of Tanabe's late father, Frank, who's picture made national headlines recently when he voted at the age of 93.      

"He voted for Inouye, since the very beginning," said Tanabe. "He never changed his vote about Senator Inouye."

Childhood friend Henry Tominaga is still at a loss with Inouye's death.

"It fractured me," said Tominaga. "It quieted me when I heard the news...just settled me down for some strange reason. I didn't say a word. My wife told me about it. And I'm still affected by it."

Tominaga remembers a young Inouye helping him when he was 12 years old after getting hurt during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He said Inouye was volunteering to help Civil Defense that fateful day.

"I had something stuck in my foot and he did a whole thing for me, and bandaged and everything," recanted Tominaga.  "He's got that kind of leadership ability and I was very impressed with the man."

Through the years, Tominaga said he continued to see Inouye, event visiting him in Washington, D.C.

"He's done so much quietly, that I'm afraid that the citizenry, will not exactly recognize what he has done, for each of them," remarked Tominaga.

The Zippy's staff will also miss him.

Olivia Erice, has served Senator Inouye often over her 28 years with the restaurant.

"He's always very nice, down to earth," said Erice. She said the Senator would often come with a staffer or family to eat.

"They love to eat chili. They love to eat Teriyaki Steak, Beef Curry, local food," said Erice.

Zippy's McCully manager, Peter Chun, said over the years, his entourage grew as did his stature in the Senate, but Inouye didn't change.

"The thing I remember is that he would always be himself when he came in...greet the rest of the customers, walk around talk story," said Chun. "People would come up to him, you know, he wouldn't push anybody away, and as he moved up like third in line, he was the still Senator Dan Inouye."

Of the words used to describe Inouye, Tominaga said, "No can beat. He's hard to beat. That's the way I'll put it locally.

Zippy's restaurant is discussing the possiblity of doing an "Inouye Special" to honor the late Senator and his service to Hawaii.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.