Local restaurants and groceries see plenty of business Christmas Eve after a tough 2020

HONOLULU (KHON2) — As the clock ticks closer and closer to Christmas Day, many spent their Christmas Eve doing some last-minute shopping. One of the major items that many people were hoping to cross off their list was food for the holiday.

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Local restaurants say, business has been really good this week with some Christmas specials selling out within hours. They say, the help is much-needed after a really tough year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Diamond Head Market and Grill, lines were out the door as folks waited to pick up Christmas baskets, bentos and desserts.

“We’re known for our blueberry cheesecake scones, and I don’t know, I think we sold maybe 800 to 1,000 of them today, and that is a lot,” said Kelvin Ro, Diamond Head Market & Grill owner.

Ro said tourists have made up a big part of their overall sales, at least since busses have been stopping by their location in the past few years. Due to the pandemic, business has dropped up to 20%. Ro said he has seen more customers trickle during the week of Monday, Dec. 21.

“I feel really grateful you know we’re blessed that we have that business during this really hard, hard time.”

Kelvin Ro, Diamond Head Market & Grill Owner

While the Christmas menu at Burgers on Bishop is all sold out, the restaurant still made time to donate meals to the homeless.

“Because it’s the holidays with more conviction I felt that I had to be open, not just to serve our customers, but also those who might be less privileged,” said Elizabeth Watanabe, Burgers on Bishop owner.

Watanabe said she thought it would not be as busy as it was, but she is thankful the community has come to help her business.

“It’s really humbling to see the amount of support that we’re having not well, especially from the clientele here from [the] tower where we’re relocated, and from the community at large, calling us, and wishing us a really good year and telling us that thank you so much for staying open,” said Watanabe.

Arrison Iwahiro, Fukuya and Deli and Catering President said, he is also appreciative of the business. Their Christmas meal sold out within days.

“Without them, you know, where would we be right? We wouldn’t be able to survive. So we’re very thankful for that.”

Arrison Iwahiro, Fukuya and Deli and Catering President

“With [the holiday business], I’m just hoping that it will carry us further to 2021 where things hopefully get better. . . ack to normal I guess,” said Iwahiro.

It was not just restaurants that were busy all throughout Christmas Eve. Many waited in line to get into Foodland Farms to pick up food items for their Christmas meals.

“From our store opening at 6 a.m. it was busy, and by 8 a.m., we had lines out the door already. So, it’s been steady all day,” said Keoni Chang, Foodland Supermarkets vice president.

Some of the big-ticket items at Foodland include poke, sashimi platters, prime rib, sweet potato and ham. Chang said seeing the turnout gives him hope for 2021.

“We’re a local company and serve the local community, and it’s just really nice to see everyone coming out and I think it’s just great to see there that the Christmas spirit is still alive,” said Chang.

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