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Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 closing


    Sitting down for a late lunch at Harbor Restaurant were Emerson Johnson, who had the Harbor Pastrami Reuben, left, his wife, Teri, who had the Grilled Seafood Skillet, middle, and his mother, Evelyn, who had the catch of the day. Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 is closing on Jan. 15 and reopening as Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood.

Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 is closing Jan. 15 and will reopen as Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood.

The upstairs waterfront eatery, owned by fishing supply company POP (Pacific Ocean Producers), will be run by chef Nico Chaize, who operates Nico’s Pier 38 on the ground floor of the same building at 1129 N. Nimitz Highway.

“It makes sense because Nico’s is so busy; usually there’s a long line to get into the restaurant,” said Duane Shimogawa, real estate analyst for Avalon Development. “This opens up more possibilities for them to serve more people. This will push them to a new level because they will have more oceanfront dining experiences for customers.”

Harbor Restaurant notified patrons Friday via email there would be a two-week closure for “light renovations.”

“They look forward to serving you under the new operation,” the company said.

Nico’s has obtained an operating agreement from POP to open what will be its third location. The company also has a restaurant in Kailua in the former Pinky’s Pupu Bar & Grill.

“We grew pretty busy; it’s a pretty popular space,” Chaize said, adding that the menu will be different from Nico’s at Pier 38.

Existing Harbor Restaurant gift cards will be redeemable at Nico’s Upstairs Steak & Seafood.

Harbor Restaurant opened above Nico’s in May 2016.

Winston Gample, general manager of Harbor Restaurant, said it just didn’t make sense to market two different eateries at the same location.

“There’s a lot of people who walk right by Harbor because they’re just going straight to Nico’s. You can have a line of an hour long outside waiting,” said Gample, adding that many of Harbor’s 40 to 50 employees likely will stay with the new restaurant.

“Second-floor restaurants are always more difficult. We’re not making what we wanted to make. When you open a restaurant on top of the busiest restaurant in town, it’s a hard sell.”

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