Colin Nishida, founder and chef at Side Street Inn, a beloved gathering place for many of Honolulu’s top chefs, died Sunday at age 61.
Nishida’s widow, Melissa Nishida, and Side Street Inn issued a statement today through a publicist, stating only that the family and the business are in mourning.
“While we sincerely appreciate the many heartfelt condolences we have received, we ask that you respect the privacy of Colin’s staff, friends and family during this difficult time,” the statement said.
Nishida opened the original Side Street on Hopaka Street in Kakaako in 1992. In a 1999 interview with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin he said his aim had been: “Build a local bar with good food, good service. A safe bar where women and men could come in. Not a hostess bar, not really a man’s bar, not really a women’s bar.”
Side Street caught on as a late-night hangout for chefs and its reputation for food as well as drink grew.
Nishida suffered a life-threatening intestinal infection in 2009, but returned to work several months later. He opened Side Street Inn on Da Strip in Kapahulu in 2010, soon after his recovery.
Chef Roy Yamaguchi, one of Nishida’s close friends, said he was a great person who enjoyed nothing more than bringing other people together over a meal, a drink or a song. “He wanted us all to have a great time and smile.”