Patrons heartbroken as condo development pushes out popular Keeaumoku eateries

Several popular restaurants and shops near Ala Moana Center are looking for new homes ahead of another high-rise condo development coming in.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:07 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2022 at 10:06 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Several popular restaurants and shops near Ala Moana Center are looking for new homes ahead of another high-rise condo development coming in.

Construction is set to begin in the next few weeks near Keeaumoku and Rycroft streets.

Longtime patrons of many of the eateries were sad to hear their favorite spots were closing for good or moving.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a local landmark and establishment kind of losing its spot here and so many other restaurants around,” said Mark Vincent of Honolulu. “So I’m really sad about it.”

Many headed to their favorite restaurants in Keeaumoku on Friday night to dine in at their original location one last time.

“We always see the same waitresses working, recognize the same auntie at the register all the time,” said Vincent.

“This is kind of like losing a lot of our culture in Hawaii,” said Susan Weinhardt of Ewa Beach.

Many of the small businesses are still trying to work out a plan and find a new location while others have already made those arrangements.

“I like this place, but I know time goes on,” said Dennis Obara of Honolulu.

Either way, all the businesses in that block were told they have to be out by Jan. 31.

Frolic Hawaii has been gathering information about who’s going where, and finding several signs on door fronts announcing that many of these beloved eateries are closing.

Several popular restaurants and shops near Ala Moana Center are looking for new homes ahead of another high-rise condo development coming in.

Places like Asahi Grill, which closed Thursday, are trying to find their next place to open up; same with Yakiniku Don-Day, Don E Don and Ben Dong Bistro.

“It’s kind of sad because we have been here 11 years and I know all the restaurants, too, they are moving because of this renovation and the new building,” said Akioshi Fujimoto, a manager with Asahi Grill. “So it is hard for everybody. I want to thank everybody ... for supporting us all this time,”

Some local favorites like En Hakkore Cafe have decided to close for good.

Some businesses have been fortunate enough to find new leases in retail space nearby.

Keeaumoku Produce, Menchanko-Tei, Sorabol and Yogurstory are all relocating in the same neighborhood. But no one is looking forward to another disruption.

“The Keeaumoku renovation, it was a story that was going around for so many years, we were kind of expecting to move, but not exactly sure when,” Taehoon Kwon, of Yogurstory.

“When we first learned about the date, it was a little bit of a surprise, but at the same time, you know, something new — you have got to stay positive.”

Popping up in the place of the businesses is a twin tower development: “The Park on Keeaumoku.”

The condominium is already selling studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences right now.

“I think we have enough condos here,” said Weinhardt. “I don’t think we need to build more.”

“I guess we need high rises, too, but I hope they build some for people who need it too,” said Obara.

Developer Wyeth Matsubara of Nan Incorporated Hawaii said the project has been in the works for three years and his team has done everything they can to give these businesses a heads up.

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