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Closing Indigo


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Recently, after 19 years of business, Indigo closed its doors. Things had been troublesome for chef/owner Glenn Chu, 61, for some time. In December of last year, he was hoping to sell the place—he had stepped down as executive chef after an accident in which he hurt his back, and the restaurant was operating at a loss. Then a fire in March damaged parts of the building, and it seemed that maybe it was a good time to close. But then Chu got a second wind (or, perhaps, simply had bills to pay), and he brought in new chefs to revamp the menu.

But it wasn’t enough.

Chu looks back on starting Indigo and the good days:

"Opening Indigo, I think, helped open up the whole Chinatown area and make Honolulu a destination, a place where you can go for entertainment in the evening. The real high of Indigo was watching the development of other businesses around us. But it’s a lot of work to keep Indigo fresh. And it’s very difficult to do after 19 years of being in business.

To see us when Dave Stewart and I opened up the Green Room, the Opium Den, the amount of money we were making then, it was incredible. Those days were long gone. It’s difficult to say, well, what did we have then that we don’t have now?

It certainly feels that the energy moves, is constantly moving. Like feng shui, you feel the energy move from area to area.

When the energy moves, whether it’s in Kaimuki or Kailua or Kakaako, it’s because of people with open spirits and open minds, bringing new ideas and innovation into the area. It’s going to happen, how can it not happen? Again, there are always younger people to take over, to take on the torch of moving into an area, of having that area open up, brighten up."

Read our full Q&A with Chu.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2018
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