Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks Honolulu will close its location at Ala Moana Center on Wednesday after nearly 15 years in business.
A small sign at the front door was the only indication change was on the way Monday afternoon as a steady mix of visitors and local residents passed by the restaurant, between Gen Korean BBQ House and Jade Dynasty Seafood on the top floor of the mall.
“February would have made 15 years,” Islands Honolulu operations consultant Paul Bishay said today. “We’re seeing a lot of people we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a very emotional time.”
While Islands isn’t a local chain, it has ties to Hawaii via its founder, Tony DeGrazier, who got the idea for his business in the 1960s when he visited Oahu while serving in the Navy.
DeGrazier launched Islands in 1982 with his first location in West Hollywood, Calif. Now based out of Carlsbad, Calif., the privately owned company operates more than 50 restaurants in California and Nevada along with its Ala Moana location.
According to Bishay, about 35 employees will lose their jobs this week, down from a high of more than 60 people employed there prior to the pandemic.
“Many are already gone due to COVID-19,” he said. “Ala Moana is the most expensive place to do business, and when you can’t operate at 100 percent capacity it makes things even harder.”
While Islands expects to stay open until 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bishay warned that higher foot traffic today and tomorrow could mean the kitchen will run out of food before last call. Call 943-6670 for reservations.