Restaurant

DIY American Dream

Jul 3, 2020

 

 

On this Independence Day holiday, we remember the different threads of history, culture, and experience that are woven together in American life. National immigration issues play out every day in Honolulu, a notoriously difficult business environment in the best of times. On Honolulu's culinary scene, a Turkish family's dream of a restaurant is coming true, in spite of the pandemic.

Tens of thousands of bar and restaurant employees across Hawai‘i have been laid off in the wake of COVID-19 restaurant closings. Some restaurants have trimmed staff, but managed to transition to take- out or delivery service. Hawai‘i’s food supply and distribution systems may depend on how many restaurants can be kept open.

Hawaii Restaurant Project
Hawaii Restaurant Project

The solid base for Honolulu’s restaurant scene was created in the 1930’s and 40’s by an amazing number of Okinawan immigrant entrepreneurs.  Two seniors from restaurant-owning families have spent over a decade documenting restaurants opened by Hawai‘i’s Okinawans, and HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports it’s an immigrant success story that leaves a tasty legacy.

noe tanigawa
noe tanigawa

How does immigration work when it works well?  Perhaps Okinawans in Hawai‘i provide a good example.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on the Hawai‘i Okinawan Restaurants Project on view now at Honolulu City Hall.

Louis Chong / Vimeo
Louis Chong / Vimeo

Food is a critical part of daily life for everybody. But when it comes to high end restaurants, one of the most powerful influences is the ratings system of the Michelin Guide. Hawai‘i restaurants are not rated by Michelin, but it’s an important designation for many establishments across Asia. And sometimes it produces surprises. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.