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State shutdown forces Like Like Drive Inn, a Hawaii institution, to permanently close

Updated: Apr. 30, 2020 at 4:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After 67 years of serving Hawaii’s families, Like Like Drive Inn officially closed its doors for good Thursday.

Known for its nostalgic, Hawaiian style-comfort food, the diner temporarily shut down on April 1 after struggling with take-out service only.

But the owners scrapped plans to reopen after the stay-at-home orders were extended.

Longtime customers say they were heartbroken when they heard the news.

"I've been coming here easy over 30 years," said customer Herman Garma. "I was hoping to see some of the people and at least say goodbye and tell them thank you."

Garma says over the decades, the friendly staff became like family, especially to his son.

"A lot of the workers here knew him from when he was born. He comes here a lot just to see some of the old timers that have been working here. They're such a part of us," Garma said.

Flowers, cards, and messages of thanks were left outside the restaurant.

Residents of all ages, who once sat in those retro booths, say they've been reminiscing about their favorite meals and memories.

“We used to go watch the UH men’s volleyball games and then come here after. Then we’d stay here until closing eating ice cream,” said customer Kristin Abe.

"I remember growing up, grandma and grandpa used to take us here and I would always get the loco moco," said customer Justin Abe.

In a post on Instagram Thursday, the owners said:

“Among serving food, the regular laughs and conversations with you all is what will be missed most. We apologize for not being able to say goodbye to you all in person and we look forward to exchanging a proper smile and hug once these times have passed.”

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