Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a great holiday season!
There are changes and happenings around town as we welcome the new year.
l Big Island Candies: Next door to Big Island Candies’s retail store is a warehouse/fulfillment area that should be completed at the end of January. Next holiday season, this new facility will be able to house all the containers of “stuff’ to fill the many orders.
l Miyo’s: Miyo’s opened at Manono Marketplace, across the street from Big Island Candies. Miyo’s is one of many establishments that have moved from Waiakea Villas. We were lucky enough to be one of Miyo’s first customers when she re-opened on Dec. 7 at her new location. One section of Miyo’s new restaurant includes a ramen shop, serving cold and hot noodles as well as gyoza.
l Hawaiian Style Cafe: Hawaiian Style Cafe has opened on the other side of Miyo’s at Manono Marketplace.
l Nihon Restaurant: Under the new ownership of Kim Snaggerud of Hilo Bay Café, Nihon Restaurant re-opened in early December. Roy and his staff at the sushi bar are still there, as well as many of the favorite items on the menu, with some new add-ons.
l Sweet Thunder Products/The Local Fusion Sushi: Dawn Onitsuka-Cabral has moved her sushi restaurant from Waiakea Villas to 811 Laukapu St., Space #7 since September of this year. It is located in t he same building as Sputniks and Affordable Catering.
l Grapes, A Wine Store: I thought it was pretty funny when my friends Rikki and Rick Newkold, who are on a two-year vacation, came back into town and headed straight to Grapes, only to find a bails bond office there on Kinoole Street. Randy has moved his wine store further toward town across from Lucy’s Taqueira. Look for the yellow painted front. The store is twice the size of the former location.
l Encore Restaurant, Kiawe Kitchen and Hokulani Restaurant: Sorry to see that both Encore in the Puainako Town Center, Kiawe Kitchen in Volcano Village, and Hokulani Restaurant in the Keaau Shopping Center all closed this year.
l Hilo Bake Company and Pacific Isles Café: Where Anna’s Lounge used to be, and us old-timers remember Sumida Restaurant, is now Hilo Bake Company, a bakery, and Pacific Isles Café, a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
l Pineapple Restaurant: Casa de Luna has become Pineapple Restaurant with a change in their menu using fresh local products.
l Kum Yo’s: Located where Ryan’s Okazu-ya formerly was, Kum Yo’s has a large luncheon buffet to select from. Their breakfasts are also popular with a wide selection of items on the menu.
l Kay’s LL: Kay Okuda has been back at her same location after a break and her regular customers are happy to see her back. Their Korean chicken and pies are always popular.
Kilauea Lodge will be celebrating 25 years on March 18. The three original employees included Kim DiNapoli, Terry Childers and Carol Schroen.
Albert and Lorna Jeyte wanted a move from Oahu to Hawaii Island. After all, Lorna was born in Hilo and remembers growing up in a house near Onekahakaha Beach Park.
On their honeymoon in 1986, they found 10 acres at old Volcano Lodge for sale. Formerly the YMCA, built in 1938, was a small restaurant and gift shop in the 1960s. This is the kind of property that Albert and Lorna would instantly would fall in love with.
In 1987, the purchase was completed, but it took almost a year to get all the necessary permits needed to open an inn and restaurant. Lorna jokingly called the “Open-Soon” Restaurant.
When the restaurant was finally opened. Lorna and Albert hired a chef and planned to be the host and hostess for the dining room. However, the chef did not show up for work and Albert, who was an Emmy-award winning make-up artist with no knowledge of cooking, had to go into the kitchen and prepare the meals. The dinners took three hours and Lorna remembers giving away lots of beer and wine that evening!
Eventually, they hired another chef and off they both went to France in 1989 to a cooking school.
A point of much curiosity and interest in the restaurant is the the International House of Friendship fireplace. In 1936, when the YMCA planned to build a camp in Volcano, their fundraising effort was selling friendship tokens to cover the expense of the fireplace, which at that time would cost $1,000. Nearly 1,200 tokens were sold.
My brother-in-law, Ralph, James Hiraki’s dad, worked on the fireplace in 1936. He was trained on Oahu and was an experienced mason. His knowledge of cutting volcanic blue rock and fitting them perfectly like a puzzle was known throughout Hilo. You can see his work not only at Kilauea Lodge, but also at Higashi Hongwanji on Mohouli Street.
Unfortunately, Ralph passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 97.
I hope this Christmas brought everyone joy and happiness. Enjoy the rest of the day with family and friends and a very Merry Christmas to all!
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.