Longtime Hawaiian restaurant prepares to serve up its last meals

Another longtime local eating establishment is preparing to serve up its last meals.

Ono Hawaiian Foods has been a staple on Kapahulu Avenue for decades, making their marinades and fresh soup daily and from scratch.

In a word, they are simply ono.

“My grandma started the restaurant 57 years ago. She just wanted something simple that can pay the bills,” said Kevin Shimabukuro.

Grandma did much more than just pay the bills. The restaurant has been in business for more than half a century, serving up pupu, plate lunches, and so much more.

They satisfied the desire for authentic Hawaiian food, not for for kamaaina diners, but for countless visitors as well.

“We came here because our concierge person at our hotel told us about it. We wanted Hawaiian food, authentic Hawaiian food, and this is where they sent us,” said customer Genie Olson.

“We got a recommendation from a friend who lives here and so we decided to try it,” said customer Andrea Adder. “I’m visiting Hawaii. I had never had any Hawaiian food before, so this is my first Hawaiian food experience.”

Shimabukuro says when his grandma and aunty died, his father took over the business. That was 30 years ago. Once he passed, he says it was left to the grandchildren, all of whom he says have chosen their own path.

“You go school, you go be a doctor, lawyer. No work over here,” Shimabukuro said. “I’m not saying no work over here, but our parents just wanted us to have a better deal.”

He says grandma’s philosophy when it came to food was keep it simple. Now, he says, it’s simply time to move on.

“It’s going to fade out like KC Drive Inn, Wisteria, Flamingo, all those restaurants. It’s different time already, different era,” Shimabukuro said.

“I live here and a friend said I should try this place, so I decided today is the day. It’s really good,” said customer Rachel Sipes.

“It’s kind of sad. I feel more toward the customer side,” Shimabukuro said. “They come over here, they patronize our restaurant for 57 years, and they’re still coming. To put them down, it’s really heartbreaking.”

You still have time to enjoy Ono’s last meals. The restaurant isn’t closing until August.

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