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Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Yum Yum Tree in
Kailua closing

By Tim Ruel

The Yum Yum Tree Pali Palms restaurant in Kailua plans to close permanently on Friday and the owner behind Big Island Steak House is licking its chops over the property.

TP Acquisitions Inc. has posted a sign announcing the closure at the entrance of its second-to-last Yum Yum Tree location on Oahu, leaving only one outlet remaining at Ward Centre.

TP, which originally bought five Yum Yum Tree eateries in a bankruptcy sale in 1997, does business as Pacific Restaurant Group of Hawaii.

The Kailua Yum Yum Tree was not a part of the original sale and closed for six months in 1997 until TP bought and reopened it. Company officials did not return several phone calls yesterday.

Meanwhile, the company that owns Big Island Steak House confirmed it is in the last round of lease negotiations for the restaurant location, part of the Pali Palms Plaza on North Kalaheo Avenue, between Kawainui Channel and Aikahi Park Shopping Center.

Kaneohe-based Entertainment One Pacific Inc. has been designing a new type of bar and grill to go both there and at the Shops at Wailea on Maui, President Gene Gunn said yesterday. "We've been working on it for over two years now."

The new eatery, tentatively scheduled to open in January, does not have a name yet. "We really don't have a lot to say right now," Gunn said.

But he noted that Entertainment One's restaurant revenues have increased an average of 12 percent in this year from the same time last year.

The company benefits by targeting local markets, Gunn said, even though its two Big Island Steak Houses operate out of Aloha Tower Marketplace and Kings' Shops at the Waikoloa Beach Resort.

The company also owns the Ocean Club nightclub at Restaurant Row.

Gunn said Hawaii's restaurants cater too much to tourists, and not enough to residents. The Kailua location can reach the entire Windward community, he said.

The three-acre business plaza is owned by the Castle Family and leased to Kailua Bay Investors, a general partnership based in Foster City, Calif. Entertainment One is in negotiations with Kailua Bay Investors for a sublease.

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