Hawaii Jackie's Kitchen closes
The theme restaurant, co-owned by movie star Jackie Chan, abruptly closes
Jackie's Kitchen, the theme restaurant named for action movie star and co-owner Jackie Chan, closed its doors over the weekend.
Ownership and management issued a brief statement, through a publicist, thanking customers for their support, explaining that the company is providing employment assistance for its staff as well as finalizing closing details.
Ala Moana Center officials were not notified in advance.
"They've been struggling financially and had operational problems ... but this took us by surprise," said Dwight Yoshimura, senior vice president of General Growth Properties Inc., which owns and operates the center.
Primary owner Curtis Wong and Ala Moana officials had been working on a financial plan, given the restaurant's performance, but nothing had been finalized.
Now the center will take back the approximately 5,000-square-foot space.
News of Chan's plans to open his first U.S. restaurant was broken internationally by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in April 2003. It had a soft opening in December of that year followed by a grand opening event attended by Chan the following June.
He and his business partners own about 40 restaurants in Asia. The Honolulu eatery was to be the first step into the restaurants' expansion in the U.S., but mainland growth has not materialized.
Jackie's Kitchen brought flair bartending to Honolulu, a la the movie "Cocktail," where bottles are flung into the air, drinks are mixed and poured from great heights.
Executive chef Mike Longworth was brought in to open the restaurant and steward creation of its Hong Kong-style dishes, after his previous successes at Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch & Crab and Buca di Beppo.
Management was recently restructured, and the restaurant began hosting viewing parties for the TV show "Lost," which became a capacity-crowd event on Wednesday nights.
Chef Stephen "Mits" Hamada won praise for improving the food. Though he left in recent months, he was replaced by Teresa Martin, who served as both executive chef and general manager to streamline costs.
The restaurant also was at capacity on recent big-event days such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day, said publicist Mona Wood, but added, "there was a lot to overcome."