Maui’s Kobe Japanese Steak House & Oku’s Sushi Bar closing after 36 years
By Wendy Osher
Word spread quickly over social media yesterday indicating that Kobe Japanese Steak House & Oku’s Sushi Bar is closing, with no plans to reopen.
The restaurant celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, marking three and a half decades of service from a corner spot at Luakini and Dickenson Streets. But the heavy burden of the economic landscape and staffing concerns made the decision official, according to the company’s post on social media.
In posts on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages, published on Thursday afternoon, the reason for the closure was explained:
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce Kobe Japanese Steak House Maui will not be re-opening. Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in hiring chefs, and with the current state of the economy and lack of staff, we have decided itʻs time to officially close our doors.”
The post further explains that the family operated business will start looking for a buyer or an interested business to open up at the location.
“We are eternally grateful for the years of patronage, love, and support we’ve had. We couldn’t have lasted this long without all of you,” the post stated.
“If you or anyone else might be interested please call 808-667-5555. We ask for your kōkua in spreading the word. Mahalo nui loa and God bless you all. This is not the end, this is only the beginning. When one door closes, another one opens,” the post stated. It was attributed to Martha Haleakala, Ashley Ishikawa Torie Hoopii, and Kobe Japanese Steak House Maui.
Comments from grateful guests poured in as they responded to the news. One fan commented: “I’m so sorry for the struggles your business had to endure throughout these times. We will always appreciate the fond memories and amazing service.”
Back in December, during the peak holiday season, the restaurant closed for a four day stretch from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 due to lack of staffing and Teppan chefs to operate the dining room. Restaurant operators expressed heartbreak at having to take the step saying it was the first time they had to do so in 36 years.
After hours staff said they were unable to confirm the closure this morning because they are not with the restaurant, but the company Facebook page status indicates that the restaurant is “permanently closed,” and no reservations were available via OpenTable. In a followup phone call, it was confirmed that the restaurant is closed until further notice.