KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Victoria Inn, a local, family-style restaurant has been part of the Kaimuki landscape for 38 years, nearly all of it on 12th Avenue, next to the entrance to the municipal parking lot. And on Sunday, it quietly closed its doors.
Customers didn't go for the decor, which hadn't changed much, and looked a bit run down after several years. There were no fads. Just food, plain and simple.
"It's been a really special place," said Sandi Yim, who worked as a waitress at Victoria Inn during the 1970s. "It's really kinda sad to see all the family-style restaurants closing."
Sandi Yim was one of the customers who came to eat a last meal at Victoria Inn. She shared a table with two other former waitresses, Sandi Miranda and Gail Miyasato.
"Gail, Sandi and I used to live together and work together," said Yim, "and we went through life, we got married and celebrated each other's children." Yim also said she met her husband at the restaurant.
"We all grew up here, actually," said Miranda. "Like Sandi said, we have a friendship that goes from way back when we all met here."
"Everybody knows everybody," Miyasato said. "We go to Las Vegas and we see all our customers there. So we're going to miss that."
Twenty people work at Victoria Inn. Most of them will retire, like waitress Flo Samosen, who has been at the restaurant since the very beginning, serving customers like Darlene Caldeira, who ate there three or four times a week.
"The waitresses are nice to us. We know them," Caldeira said. "Since we've been coming here, they've been very nice to us and treat us good."
One of the owners, Jerry Tamashiro, said that the main owner, Ruth Tengan, decided to retire and shut down the restaurant after no one else in her family wanted to take it over. He said Tengan is in her 80s and in poor health, and reluctantly made the decision to close Victoria Inn.
The owners wanted to keep the closing low-key, and did not post any signs announcing the closure. But the regulars -- and there were almost all regulars at the restaurant Sunday -- knew about it. And they knew that they would have to find another place to eat.
"Or maybe I might stay home and cook now," Caldeira said.