taking over Haiku
The former Chart House opensBy Russ Lynch
under the new name next week
The Chart House restaurant in Kaneohe, given up by its Chicago-based operators, will become a Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill next week, the second restaurant on the island operated by Joe Lazar and his partners.
Lazar, who managed a Chart House in the former SeaView Inn location on the Haleiwa waterfront, opened Haleiwa Joe's there in late 1997 with other former Chart House employees after Chart House Enterprises Inc. abruptly closed it.
Now the group will open at the former Haiku Gardens location, probably at the start of next week, he said.
"We've had the keys for three weeks now. We have a crew in place, and we're currently training them," Lazar said yesterday.
His business has leased the building and its landmark five acres of botanical gardens.
Lazar said his group plans to maintain the gardens and use them, as previous operators did, for weddings and other functions.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will employ about 45 people, many of whom were with the Chart House operation there, Lazar said.
It will be a casual restaurant, where people can come in T-shirts and shorts but also will feel comfortable dressing up, he said. Some minor changes in decor are being made to create an island theme, with a focus on surfing, canoeing and other ocean-oriented sports, he said.
It will be open only for dinner at first, adding a Sunday brunch later. By not doing lunch business it will be able to open for weddings and other functions in the daytime, he said.
Lazar said news in January of Chart House Enterprises' decision to close its four Hawaii restaurants left the impression that they were immediately shut. Chart House kept operating the business until a few days before they handed the keys over to his group, Lazar said, but business was hurt because it wasn't widely known that it stayed open.
The first Haleiwa Joe's is doing well after 2 years in business, Lazar said.
The mainland Chart House business, which already had restaurants in Lahaina and Wailea on Maui and one in Kona, expanded to Oahu in 1989 when it took over the Haleiwa site and what had been Haiku Gardens.
The 30-year-old Chart House in the Ilikai Marina condominium was not part of the Chart House closings because it is an independent business not connected with the Chicago-based company.