Wine has always been a big part of Terry Kakazu’s food and beverage ventures in Chinatown. Now, with the closing of Terry’s Place, it is clearly the focal point.
In 1989, she and former business partner Paul Matsumoto opened Paul & Terry’s Place at the Chinese Cultural Plaza. For 25 years it was a popular karaoke spot, where you could also get some nice high-end vino.
During the latter half of that run, in 2005, Kakazu opened HASR Wine Co. on Pauahi Street. Then came HASR Bistro in 2012 in the same location. (HASR is an acronym for Highly Allocated Spoiled Rotten).
Last year, Kakazu renamed the bistro Terry’s Place. Last week she said the restaurant is closing, but she hasn’t completely given up on serving food.
“I don’t know yet for sure, we’re putting it together as it comes,” Kakazu said Friday. “But I’m done with the restaurant. We can still do some things with the wine shop and the courtyard.”
The restaurant is yet another casualty of COVID-19.
“For us to run this restaurant is tough. One reason is because when we go to the store they don’t have what we need,” Kakazu said. “So you adjust.”
After in-restaurant dining shut down in March, Kakazu scaled down the daily lunch menu for takeout only. “We were doing our regular menu at first, but people didn’t want to spend a lot,” she said.
She is still offering curbside pickup of local favorites like kalbi steak, garlic shrimp plates and bentos for $10 each, with a chili and rice bowl ($7) and KC Waffle Dog ($4) even more affordable. She plans to keep this going at least through August.
Although the restaurant is closing, Kakazu is looking at installing a small kitchen in the 1,400-square-foot wine store, so she can still provide light fare for gatherings in the courtyard, or for catered wine-tasting events. She also envisions pau hana live music in the courtyard … someday.
The tree-surrounded property is scenic. The environs are not, and Kakazu said that even pre-virus, Chinatown was losing the charm it had attained when the area was revitalized during the first decade of the 2000s.
“We’d take one step forward and the city would put us five steps back,” she said, referring to a nearby homeless encampment cutting into the area’s business appeal.
“Back (in 2005) it was just Indigo, and Mark’s Garage was starting up,” said Kakazu, who owned and operated both Paul & Terry’s and the HASR restaurant for two years of overlap. “We’d use a clicker to count, and on First Fridays 600 people would come through for a wine tasting.”
HASR Wine Co., 31 N. Pauahi St., is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Takeout, with daily specials, is available from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 533-4277.