Sam Choy's closes Diamond Head restaurant

Rodney Higuchi
Rodney Higuchi

Sam Choy's closes Diamond Head restaurant

By Mari-Ela David bio | email

DIAMOND HEAD (KHNL) - A landmark in Hawaii's world of fine dining, is closing its doors. Tough economic times has forced Chef Sam Choy to merge his two restaurants. He says operations at the Diamond Head location will move over to the Nimitz Highway site.

About 25 employees at the Diamond Head restaurant can transfer to Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch and Crab restaurant if they want.

Choy says skyrocketing expenses are fueling the consolidation, after 13 years of white tablecloth service and fine local style cuisine.

"The food is ono, it's always ono," said one customer, Rick Hill of Kaimuki.

In an attempt to whip up a solution to rising costs, operations at Sam Choy's Diamond Head restaurant will move.

"We have two different styles trying to merge together. It'll be interesting to see how it works," said Kitchen Supervisor Donovan Baro.

"Everything's going to be different, and we have to go out there and blend in with them now. That's got to be kind of a hard transition but, it'll be okay, it'll be okay," said Executive Chef Rodney Higuchi.

Managing Director James Lee says their gas bill alone jumped $6,000 within the last year. Lee also says their vendors now tack on fuel surcharges and delivery charges.

"With the times we're in, sometimes some places are going to have to fold and make the best of it," said Hill.

The closure follows a string of others this past year alone, including both TGI Fridays in Waikiki and Oceans Club. But Choy has managed to protect his Diamond Head employees from layoffs.

"A lot of good people, I love my crew, I love my crew to death. I'd hate to see if it were to split up now, you know," said Higuchi.

The Kapahulu Avenue restaurant closes Sunday night.

As part of the merger, Choy will revamp the Breakfast Lunch and Crab restaurant. There'll be a new dinner menu, renovations are planned for Fall, and will it be renamed 'Sam Choy's'.