Despite rumors, Hula Hulas remains open in Naniloa hotel

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald

    Hula Hulas remains open for takeout and dinein at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

Contrary to rumors it is closing, Hula Hulas restaurant continues to offer takeout and dine-in meals at its spot in the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

“It hasn’t been easy to stay open, don’t get me wrong,” owner Chad Yang said. “We have reduced our hours, but we have no plans of closing right now.”

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Hula Hulas has been offering takeout and curbside pick up options from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and dine-in from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“It just didn’t make sense for us to be open during our normal hours,” Yang said. “We’ve been adjusting everything since the beginning of the pandemic, and this works best for us.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 60% of employees were laid off and 40% remained working only part-time.

Hula Hulas has also been serving food to the National Guard during their extended stay at the Grand Naniloa Hotel as they assist with the government’s response to the pandemic.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, we were serving over 500 meals a day for the National Guard,” Yang said. “It’s now down to about 50 a day, but it’s still helping us stay afloat.”

Yang has been adjusting the restaurant to serve just locals, which is much different from its usual crowd. Being located in the Naniloa, Hula Hulas used to serve hundreds of visitors a week.

“We’re ready, but also scared for tourists to come back,” Yang said. “We’ve had some experience with visitors that argue about wearing masks, which is not easy.”

All it takes is one person to bring the virus to the Naniloa to affect everyone else who works at the hotel, Yang said.

Presently, Hula Hulas is serving the National Guard, a few people in quarantine at the hotel, and locals who come by to support the restaurant.

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Although it has been difficult to remain open, Hula Hulas has no plans of closing at this time, Yang said.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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