Grondin French-Latin Kitchen Says Goodbye to Chinatown
Critically acclaimed restaurant to close June 24 after four-year run.
Coq au vin
Photo: Steve Czerniak
Grondin French-Latin Kitchen won praise for its fusion food and genial service but struggled with a Hotel Street location that just might have been a block too far from other popular downtown eateries.
Known for a small well-executed menu that featured cassoulet, chicken mole, coq au vin and a mean charcuterie, the restaurant will close after a last Sunday brunch on June 24. Husband-and-wife team David Segarra and Jenny Grondin sent out a farewell email and have spent the days since reuniting with patrons near and far.
With black-and-white tile floors and café tables, the compact restaurant has a European flair and garnered a loyal following at lunch, dinner, the bar and brunch over the years. But urban issues with nearby crime and off-putting street scenes just outside their windows crimped their business.
Photo: MARTHA CHENG
The coq au vin (above) appeared on the cover of HONOLULU Magazine’s June 2017 Restaurant Guide. The restaurant earned a reputation for serving many locally sourced dishes not commonly served around town. “It was really split evenly between the French and Latin cuisine,” Segarra says.
They aren’t leaving town or giving up on food. After investing about $300,000 and trying to find a buyer for the past six months, Segarra says they are ready to focus on making some of their specialties for retail sale and looking for a new restaurant space in the future that would be “more Latin and more local,” he says.
The couple says they’ve felt an outpouring from people they’ve met over the years that’s been very encouraging, “that what we did mattered and it was good,” Segarra says.
Photo: Robbie Dingeman
The location away from a cluster of other trending restaurants proved a big hurdle, they say. “We pushed the boundaries for Hotel Street,” Segarra says. Now, they’re looking around at Kaka‘ako, Kaimuki and even another downtown location.
Jenny Grondin says they’ll keep making their popular Sangrita drink, charcuterie and mustard, which they have sold from the restaurant, and are putting together a plan to sell them in retail stores.
The restaurant, at 62 N. Hotel St., is serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. and weekend brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until June 24.
This week, another restaurant we’ve appreciated over the years announced it is closing. Cactus Bistro in Kailua announced this week its last day in business will be, sniff, June 9, after six years.
Bring the family down to the Best of Honolulu Festival July 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Honolulu Hale civic grounds. Eat at ‘ono food booths, shop local designers in the marketplace, bring the family to the keiki zone for face painting, balloon animals, rides, games and more. For more information, visit honolulumagazine.com/bestofhonolulu.