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The Conversation: What Will Hawaii's Restaurant Scene Look Like After The COVID Crisis?

Image by Amir Hanna

Update from the Hawaii Restaurant Association; What restaurants will look like after the COVID crisis; Inside the daily decisions of a restaurateur; ALEA Bridge helps Central Oahu homeless; Call for artists for Maui Quick Build projects

Update from the Hawaii Restaurant Association

Hawaii's experience with COVID-19 has taken a turn, with cases rising past a previously unimaginable 150 per day. We've had officials pleading with the public all week. On Oahu, beach parks will close again starting at midnight and other restrictions are back to try to contain the virus. More than half of Hawaii's restaurants never reopened after the first COVID shutdown in March. Many that did are still on their knees. We checked in again with Greg Maples, chair of the Hawaii Restaurant Association and Director of Restaurants Services at the Polynesian Cultural Center, about the harrowing challenges facing the dining industry.

Greg Maples, chair, Hawaii Restaurant Association

Credit noe tanigawa

What restaurants will look like after the COVID crisis

Sheer survival is paramount in the restaurant business today and probably will be for years to come. As customers and diners, we have to ask: What kind of eating options are going to be left? I got three particular chefs together on Zoom, because they know the food network here, from the farmers and suppliers on up. These three  will help determine whether we come out of this with some kind of cuisine with food that aspires to something. Chef Alan Wong's award-winning establishment on King Street has been called Wong University by young chefs nurtured there. Chef Chris Kajioka's jewel, Senia, brought lots of national attention when it opened nearly four years ago. He was set to open two new venues this past spring, including Miro Kaimuki. Chef and restaurateur Roy Yamaguchi is doing dine in and take out at Goen in Kailua and at his flagship restaurant, Roy's in Hawaii Kai.

Chefs Chris Kajioka, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi

Inside the daily decisions of a restaurateur

Want to get into the nitty gritty of what daily decisions are like for restaurant owners? Chef Beverly Gannon is one of the original Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs. She owns and operates Haliimaile General Store and Gannon's, both on Maui - 33 years in business. She tells us what exactly restaurant owners are facing.

Chef Beverly Gannon

ALEA Bridge helps Central Oahu homeless

It's a great privilege to offer a visit to a corner of busy Oahu that you've probably whizzed by and never noticed. We get to do this thanks to the great folks at ALEA Bridge, one of the few homeless service providers in Central Oahu. You'll meet Executive Director Nicky Winter and outreach providers Makanani Rivera and Cora Rada. Would you like to get a sense of what living in the brush outside Wahiawa is like? You'll hear from Tammy, who has been at the settlement for years. Click here for ALEA Bridge's website.

ALEA Bridge

Credit Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization

Call for artists for Maui Quick Build projects

Lauren Armstrong, executive director of Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization, let us know that they're looking for an artist to gather input and design signage for a large street project. The planning group is working on making streets safer and more beautiful. The artist will be compensated $5,000. Applications should be sent to lauren@mauimpo.org by 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21. Click here for more information.

Lauren Armstrong, Executive Director, Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization

Hawaii Arts Alliance Creative Network

The deadline to join the Hawaii Arts Alliance Creative Network has been extended. It's free. The Alliance wants to know the needs of creatives, and they can help find resources and professional development, but first they need to know you're there. Click here for the Creative Network form. 

Credit hiff.org

HIFF at home

The first ever Hawaii International Film Festival HIFF@HOME Summer Fest is streaming right now. Maybe this is the weekend you actually get engaged in a film. Shiro Tokiwa's First Supper is in the line up. So is Ramona Diaz's A Thousand Cuts documents the Duterte regime in the Philippines. Eleven particularly strong selections. Click here to visit the HIFF website.

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Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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