Sun sets on Brew Moon


POSTED: Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Brew Moon Restaurant & MIcrobrewery has closed its doors and its owner, David Pierce, is not responding to inquiries from employees or the Star-Bulletin.




On the Net:

        » hawaii.gov/labor/rapid-response 

“;The sun has set, meet at E&O,”; was scrawled on the floor outside Brew Moon yesterday afternoon, a Ward Centre customer told the Star-Bulletin.

General Manager Bill Lurito called employees yesterday morning to let them know the restaurant had ceased operation, instructing them not to come in.

Lurito did not return a call.

He “;doesn't know what's going to happen with our paychecks,”; said server and bartender Ashley Tyler. “;They're supposed to be there and they're not, so he doesn't know.”;

“;I tried to get a hold of the owner, but he won't answer our phone calls,”; she said.

The last time she worked was Saturday and she heard nothing of the impending closure.

Her roommate, server Kristi James, received a similar phone call.

“;All the employees were called and told we were no longer operating,”; James said. “;Kind of a lot of us have worked there together for a long time.”;

“;We have no idea if we're going to lose our paychecks at all, there are a lot of hours on them,”; James said.

“;About 40”; people worked at the restaurant, Tyler estimated.

A plant closing notice apparently was not filed with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, said Ryan Markham, spokesman.

Displaced Brew Moon employees needing unemployment benefits can call the Honolulu claims office at 586-8970 and also can find information online.

The restaurant was closed during lunch service yesterday causing a flurry of rumors to spread through Honolulu, largely via the online social network Twitter.com.

“;They had a problem at lunch where they couldn't open, but they are opening at 5 p.m.,”; said Ward Centers spokeswoman Diane Bruce, yesterday afternoon.

The problem was something to do with gas service, she said, but she had no details.

Throughout the afternoon and past 5 p.m., calls to the restaurant and its offices went unanswered.

Gas Company officials did not return a Star-Bulletin call.

Bruce could not be contacted later in the day after the restaurant's closure was confirmed.

Pierce bought the restaurant from Marcus Bender in 2007 for undisclosed terms.

“;I've owned it for six-and-a-half years and decided I just couldn't make a go of it,”; Bender said at the time. Bender's focus had been split between the bar and development of Kai Vodka and Kai Lychee Vodka, made from rice grown in Vietnam.

Bender sold the restaurant following an explosion of 3,500 new restaurant seats in Waikiki “;and God knows all the other stuff that's going on around us, like P.F. Chang's,”; he said back then. He described Pierce as having “;his own plan”; and being a “;proactive owner.”;

Yesterday Bender, a creditor, said “;This comes as shocking news. I'm sorry to hear it.”;

He had bought the restaurant in 2000 after its founders went bankrupt. It originally opened in 1998 at a cost of about $2.5 million.