January Food News Update: 8 New Restaurant Openings in Honolulu

And one 25-year-old spot closes soon.
Kapispa Kapi‘olani Spaghetti House
Photo: Tani Loo


Here’s your monthly update of recent restaurant openings and closings. Got a tip? Send it to us at food@honolulumagazine.com.




Kevin Hanney of 12th Ave Grill opened Chopchop Rotisserie, his version of a fast-casual rotisserie spot with wine and local beers on tap, in January.

Eaton Square, 438 Hobron Lane, #104


SEE ALSO: First Look: Chopchop Rotisserie


The Willows has reopened … sort of. Renamed Willows of Hawai‘i, the former restaurant relaunched in January as a performance and catering venue. 

901 Hausten St.


Izakaya Kawaoge, a pop-up by the owners of Vein in Kaka‘ako, opened late December in the former Kaiwa spot. Find dishes like a lotus root “pizza,” natto tofu pouches and mapo tofu along with sushi and sashimi until renovations begin for a new Japanese steakhouse and sushi restaurant in the space.

226 Lewers St.


Kapispa Kapi‘olani Spaghetti House, sort of Olive Garden meets Angelo Pietro, with Japanese-style pasta and a salad bar, opened in December in the former Bread and Butter space.

1585 Kapi‘olani Blvd.


In the revolving-door corner space on King and Kāheka streets, Soup House and Karaoke opened in December. The menu includes fried chicken, kim chee fried rice and flavored shochu. 

1499 S. King St.


Salt and Pepper, in the former Yum Cha space, opened in December with a menu divided between vegan and “traditional.” So you’ll find everything from fried chicken to pancakes to a loco moco in both meat and meat-free versions.

1341 Kapi‘olani Blvd., saltandpeppercafehawaii.net


Kō Tiki Terrace: a tiki bar without booze? Don’t worry, the liquor is coming. In the meantime, the restaurant that opened in the Aqua Bamboo hotel in December is BYOB and serving pizza among tiki vibes. You might need to BYO paper umbrella, too.

2425 Kūhiō Ave.


Betty’s Burger Joint, a new smash-burger spot, opened on University Avenue in the former Greek Corner space in December. 

1025 University Ave.


highway inn
Photo courtesy of Highway Inn




After 35 years on Leoku Street in Waipahu, Highway Inn moved to bigger digs, right next to the future Waipahu Rail Transit station in January. The space is brand new (and largely solar powered), but expect the menu to stay largely the same. 

94-830 Moloalo St., myhighwayinn.com


SEE ALSO: Hale ‘Aina Happenings: Here’s What’s New with Hawai‘i Restaurants in January 2020


Closed But Popped Up Again:

In December, The Food Company in Enchanted Lake in Kailua, serving Hawaiian and local-style plate lunches during the day and upscale fare for dinner, closed after 22 years of business. The mochiko chicken and tofu katsu are back The Food Company re-openrf this week (February 4) as a pop-up serving the full menu within Boardriders Bar & Grill, 201 Hāmākua Drive, Kailua.


Sin Lounge, a bar in Chinatown, closed in January.


Closing soon:


Kaka‘ako Kitchen, serving elevated plate lunches for 25 years, plans on closing in February. 


Read more stories by Martha Cheng 


HONOLULU Magazine’s gathering the top breakfast and brunch restaurants for BrunchFest presented by American Savings Bank. It will be a morning of delicious sweet and savory bites, bloody marys and mimosas, lawn games, entertainment and more. Join us for a relaxed Sunday Funday vibe on March 8, 2020 at the Ho‘okupu Center. Click here for ticket details.