These Restaurants Need Your Support After Power Outages Forced Them to Close

These Restaurants Need Your Support After Power Outages Forced Them to Close


Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Akiyoshi


The nightmare on King Street began in the late evening hours of Wednesday, June 12. A cascade of events damaged underground cables that feed power to Downtown Honolulu, overloading Hawaiian Electric Co.’s Iwilei substation and cutting off power the next morning to Downtown, Chinatown and across The Capitol District. By noon, people were being sent home in droves as crews worked to restore power, which remained out most of the day.


Four days later, a fire on Monday night damaged more underground cables in several locations throughout Downtown and Chinatown. Again, whole city blocks and pockets of buildings, including 1000 Bishop St., where Frolic’s parent company is headquartered, sat in darkness. Businesses were forced to close again, without a solid timeline from HECO about when power would be restored. All have lost sales, many have lost inventories of perishable food and workers have lost wages.


Business insurance will help, but it won’t cover the cost of time lost preparing food. With paperwork and red tape involved in filing a claim and getting it approved, restaurants are likely months from seeing any relief. Businesses that have experienced a loss are encouraged to document everything and file a claim with HECO, once the damages have been assessed within 30 days of the incident.


What can you do to help?


A community walk planned this Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. by Chinatown Neighborhood Board chair Ernest Caravalho and Honolulu City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam aims to “bring positive attention to the Downtown-Chinatown area and generate interest in local businesses.” It will start at the new Inspiration Hawai‘i Museum at 900 Richards Street and stop at various spots in Downtown and Chinatown, highlighting various improvements made to the area.


Black Shamrock Tavern posted this plea on its Instagram:


“With (so far) three days of lost business in the last week due to two different power outages, the bars, restaurants, and shops in Chinatown have taken a hit. We ask you to come out this weekend to support our little community. Bring your friends and family to enjoy a meal, have a drink, buy a lei, do some shopping, take in some art, etc. at your favorite spots in Chinatown. Every visit helps our local businesses continue to thrive. Chinatown nō ka ‘oi.”


Downtown eateries were affected as well. Here’s who lost power this past week, along with comments sent to us or reposted from their Instagrams:


“We will be checking all our stock to see what melted and needs to be donated away. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to us to offer a helping hand. We feel so supported by our amazing community! We’ll be back to 100% and open on Sunday!!


“Unfortunately some of our friends down the street are still without power… Please go out and support the ones open trying their best to keep their doors open. We need to take care of each other when times are tough.” —Asato Family Instagram post


Bread House

“Since the outage began, we have faced significant challenges and losses: all of our food supplies have spoiled, unique coffee beans reserved and stored for our customers have been ruined, a substantial loss in sales, which is critical for our survival, especially as a small business. The commute back and forth to maintain our generator… is unstable and exhausting.” —Kelsie Mercado-Uehara, co-owner, Drip Studio


Duc’s Bistro

“Fête’s been open for eight and half years and maybe we’ve had [a power outage] once every other year, but never for this long. The level of communication from HECO needs to be clearer. I think about the loss of revenues, the loss of product and the loss of time. There’s a trickle-down effect to the small farmers and suppliers we work with that do not have orders from us to fill. I’m worried about the first-generation owners that will have a difficult time navigating the paperwork and red tape involved to get resolve from this ordeal.” —Chuck Bussler, co-owner, Fête


Fort Street Café

Ginger and Garlic

“Our employees, who depend on their paychecks and benefits to support themselves and their families, are the hardest hit. We’ve been forced to close for three days within the span of a single week. As a new restaurant that has been open for less than a month, this disruption is overwhelming. We are facing significant losses in revenue and perishable products. Not only have we lost all our raw ingredients, but we’ve also lost all the sauces and ragus that have taken countless hours to prepare. Much of the ingredients we use are from specialty purveyors that are not on the island, and even if power is restored by this evening, we will have to run a limited menu until we can restock our inventories.” —Bao Tran, chef and partner, Giovedi


Jun Bo Chinese Restaurant

Livestock Tavern

Lucky Belly

Maria Bonita Restaurant

Marugame Udon

Ohana Dish

Paris Baguette

Pho Kim An

“This outage is not normal. Not for this period of time and my fear is this will continue more often with the rail construction coming in. It’s not ideal for the restaurants here to be without power for their food supply for days, let alone an hour. The ripple effect is real for the restaurants, employees and customers.” —Alex Le, co-owner, The Pig and the Lady


“A tremendous thank you to all our employees, friends, family, loved ones, and community for the outpouring support and love during this timereaching out to help, lending us refrigeration space and an oven to use, charging our battery packs at the substation, providing security, dropping off food and drinks, and the list goes on. Sorry for all the trouble this has caused each and every one of you but we really appreciate your patience as we try to navigate through this tough time.” —Sing Cheong Yuan Instagram post



“Day 3 and devastated to hear that we will not have power again today. We’re frustrated and tired but will still be open. We’re running off of 3 portable batteries that friends are helping us charge throughout the day. Please consider stopping by some businesses around us today! We heard some businesses who got power yesterday are out again today.

Thank you again for everyone that has helped us out tremendously already. We are so grateful for our community and will continue to extend out flash sale because we gotta keep the show going! Hilo Kaimana Lychee $7.99/LB!” – Sun Chong Grocery Instagram post


The Tchin Tchin! Bar

“Sorry folks, won’t be open for the near future. Everything is melted.” —Wing Ice Cream Instagram post




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