Iconic restaurant closes, for now -- its manager is on a roll
Fisherman's Wharf restaurant closed for renovation this week, according to a sign on the door.
The joint is still open a few nights a week for its late-night scene, called the Living Room, but the restaurant's reopening date is unclear, according to General Manager Sonny Morihara.
The aging restaurant -- its trade name was registered by Spencecliff Corp. Ltd. in 1951 -- is in need of roof repairs and other TLC.
Japan-based owner Nittaku Investment Inc., which bought the Spencecliff chain in 1986, has had a month-to-month lease with the state for the restaurant for years.
A Star-Bulletin story last February reported the state envisioned a redevelopment of the property to include renovation of the Fisherman's Wharf building as well as the addition of other restaurants, a convenience store, bait shop and fueling station.
However, actual planning and community input-seeking are still underway, said Anthony J.H. Ching. He is the new executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which is overseeing the redevelopment of Kakaako.
"We're not at a point where we're moving forward" with changes to the parcel, he said.
The sign on the door doesn't mean Morihara is spending all day lolling on the beach.
Your columnist can hear him laughing at the mere suggestion.
Nor is he having to sing for his supper, though he used to do that way back when as a musician at the old Beef and Grog, also owned by Spencecliff, the old Bobby McGee's and other night spots.
Morihara is still employed by Nittaku and is using his 40 years of experience in and around the restaurant industry to run Lina's Restaurant on a Roll, a lunchwagon named for his wife.
Morihara registered SLM Cuisine LLC in February, for Sonny and Lina Morihara. His middle initial is L, but to give his wife her due, he says the L in SLM stands for Lina.
The two spent about the next eight months looking for, acquiring and renovating the lunchwagon, which he describes as state-of-the-art.
Lina's rolled out its fare in November.
"It's all restaurant-quality food," Morihara said. The beef brisket Lina's serves is USDA choice and "our sauces are all made with butter," he said.
Prices start at $5 for say, a roast pork plate, while the mixed plate goes for $6. Some dishes are a little north of that, but not by much.
Lina's can be found on Cooke Street near Cutter Ford from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Oh, but if it's not quite 2 p.m. and Lina's is nowhere in sight, "it means we sold out of everything already," Morihara said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org