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Chef Chai sells Waikiki restaurant

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    The Ho Farms Heirloom Cherry Tomato Burrata Caprese Salad — served with crispy Prosciutto stick — at Chai’s Waikiki. Chef Chai Chaowasaree has sold his Waikiki restaurant to a Korean businesswoman and plans to close the location after service on Saturday.

Chef Chai Chaowasaree has sold his Waikiki restaurant to a Korean businesswoman and plans to close the location after service on Saturday.

He has operated Chai’s Waikiki Hawaiian Fusion in addition to his Chef Chai restaurant at the Pacifica Honolulu building at 1009 Kapiolani Blvd., and near-daily catering operations for commercial ventures and private parties, “and I’ve been working seven days, every night, for I don’t know how long,” he said. “It’s too much for us,” he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The purchase offer “was a good offer,” one he couldn’t refuse, according to a post on Facebook. He did not disclose the purchase price, but said the deal is done.

Chaowasaree brought his aging mother to Hawaii from Thailand two years ago “and we just don’t have enough time together. I want to share every moment I can with her, she’s 84 and anything could happen.”

The timing and nature of the offer was perfect. “For me, that was the number-one reason we wanted to sell,” he said.

Employees at the Waikiki restaurant will continue their employment with Chai at his Pacifica location and his catering operations. “None of them is going to lose their job,” he said.

The new owners plan to operate as a Korean barbecue restaurant using the new style of cooking tables that don’t require installation of large, over-table exhaust fans, he said.

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    • Are you dense? He’s only selling the one location. He currently has two plus catering. He’s keeping the one location and the catering, so he’s not going out of business. He’s just scaling back. Get a grip….

    • Let me guess that you have never started, built and sold a business before. Am I right?

      Because selling a business is just the opposite of “gone out of business.”

      • Did you know that Mr. Inouye lost that arm because he was saving men he was fighting with despite being injured by an enemy hand grenade?

        I figured that you could not possibly be so ignorant and disrespectful of a war hero if you knew the facts. Unless of course you also won a Medal of Honor for something even more heroic than Mr. Inouye, and because of your remarkable heroism thought that you could insult a fellow veteran like that.

        Let me take a guess …. you’re a Trump supporter?

    • They passed some special legislation that made him legal. It’s good to have connections. On the one hand, I really dislike “cheaters” like Chai when there are people waiting patiently on the list, and especially since Chai committed fraud with his fake marriage. On the other hand, I welcome immigrants based on whether they plan to be hard workers rather than leeches (regardless of the legality of their entry), and Chai has proven to be a hard worker and productive citizen. So, I have conflicting feelings on this guy.

      • well said ryan but i will still never step foot in his restarant but he is a hard worker and a productive citizen, maybe i’ll get over it once the choochoo train starts a running, boo

  • At least Morimoto is still around. However the quality has gone down from when my internet persona was created based on my affinity for that establishment.

    • What, exactly, does impress you? You always seem so relentlessly miserable and negative about every thing you write about.

      Does anything, anywhere, provide any happiness to you? And if so – maybe write about that?

  • That salad is so manini. Fusion is just a con name for an overpriced dish. Bring back Flamingo Chuckwagon! If you want good Thai food for reasonable prices, go to Maile’s Thai Cuisine in the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center where Costco is. Right next to Starbucks. Ambience is nice, and the restaurant is medium-sized. Food so good and is prepared when you order it. Not waiting in a pot full of warmed fare. If you order tapioca pudding it takes a while because they start from scratch. It is served warm. Can’t say enough good things about Maile’s. Their Thai salad is a good size and so delicious. Nice bar where you can meet friends and drink from a wide list of mixed drinks. Menu is full of goodies, and you’ll need to return to taste them all. Thai food tastes much better here than in Thailand because of fresh food that you know is inspected and passed.

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