Restaurant Closure Blamed On Labor Shortage

Ernie Choy
Ernie Choy

HEEIA KEA (KHNL) -- Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, but the downside is some businesses suffer from the inability to find workers. The Choy family is throwing in the towel after running The Deli at Heeia Kea Harbor for nearly three decades.

Family members say they can't hire enough help to keep the diner going. You see help wanted signs all over Oahu. And among the hardest hit are island restaurants.

The Choy family runs The Deli at Heeia Kea Harbor. It was started by Popo Choy 27 years ago who serves up great island food. "Our stew, everybody even from Waipahu come eat," said owner Popo Choy.

Plus diners enjoy a picture perfect setting.

Daughters Mimi and Sharon and son Ernie say without any hired help, they have to do all the work.

"There is a big labor shortage so it's been tough to get help of any kind, consistent help," said owner Ernie Choy.

The popular ocean side diner is busy six days a week and family members don't get a break.

"My sisters do it. The work has to be done either way it doesn't matter if somebody else is doing it or we are doing it rather have someone helping us, it gets real tiring at the end of the day if you do both jobs, " said Choy.

So the signs are up, regular customers are taking it hard. "We paddle canoe right here so everybody comes here, it's going to be sad. I can't believe they are going to close after all these years," said customer Cheryl Farris.

"A lot of them threaten to come to our house and eat instead," said Choy.

"Well this closes a chapter for the Choy family. The Deli closes next Sunday and will likely open down the road under new management," said reporter Beth Hillyer.

"It's been a great run. The community supported us tremendously and my family and I really appreciate it, in fact many people bring their grandchildren and their children back to see us and eat and visit with us. Just like family over here. A strong feeling of family," said Choy.