DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
OnJin's Cafe, formerly at 401 Kamakee St., closed suddenly this month, leaving little else but this sign. Owner Onjin Kim had trouble with parking at the location due to an ongoing sewer project and left without notice May 16, leaving the restaurant's fans confused. CLICK FOR LARGE
OnJin's Cafe shuts down suddenly
Owner Onjin Kim had trouble with parking at the restaurant's location
Restaurateur Onjin Kim closed her namesake restaurant suddenly earlier this month.
An area resident and ardent fan of the restaurant's food saw furniture being moved out on May 16 and later learned the phone had been disconnected.
She had "some trouble with the owner of the building" involving parking, relating to an ongoing sewer project, according to her husband, acupuncturist and licensed massage therapist, Kwang Chai.
Kim will be in Europe for the next few weeks, Chai said. She could not be reached.
The restaurant was at 401 Kamakee St. in a building owned by Ka'a Limited Partnership and retired physician and medical researcher Richard Wasnich, who also could not be reached.
Grubb & Ellis President Jackson Nakasone was unaware of any dispute with Kim.
Leasing agent Daniel Jarrett "came in one day and they had vacated the premises," he said.
"She had great food."
It is the first time property manager Jeremy Long has seen a tenant who is not in arrears suddenly vacate a property.
"They did a midnight run, but they are paid up through this month."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
OnJin's Cafe, at 401 Kamakee St., closed this month to the surprise of several customers who stopped by yesterday. The restaurant closed suddenly on May 16 after owner Onjin Kim had a disagreement with the building's owner about parking. CLICK FOR LARGE
Restaurant management complained of parking issues, "but what they said didn't pan out," Long said.
A two-year sewer-pipe and water-pipe repair project started in the area in September.
Kim suffered a 30 percent drop in business during earlier work, she told the Star-Bulletin at the time. It had been scheduled for two months, but it lasted six, she said.
However, the new project has not been going on near the restaurant lately, he said.
OnJin's was told to correct a permit violation relating to its signage and "they said they'd take care of it," but they were gone two days later, said Long.
"Their customer flow was good ... it was a very popular restaurant with good food. We don't have any issues on our side," Long said.
An attorney handed over the restaurant's keys and will likely be discussing the matter with the owner's attorney, as Long said he believed there were a couple of years left on Kim's lease.
In the meantime, Grubb & Ellis is showing the property, which includes 1,787 square feet indoors and an additional 800 square feet for outdoor seating.
Kim's garden area, where she grew herbs and other plants for the restaurant, is still there. "They left everything. Even the pots," Long said.
OnJin's Cafe opened in 1999. She was the sole owner, but had previously operated Hanatei Bistro in Hawaii Kai, as the vice president of Hanatei U.S.A. Inc. The bistro opened in 1992 after a nearly $3 million investment, but it closed in 1996.
Hanatei fans welcomed Kim's return to restaurant operation and her European cuisine fused with Asian flavors, serving inexpensive gourmet plate lunches and sandwiches at lunch and more upscale fare for dinner.