Business

Kay LC Restaurant in Hilo Closing, “Kenichi” Opening

August 7, 2013, 11:46 AM HST
* Updated August 7, 1:20 PM
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Long-time restaurant owner and chef Allan Okuda is announcing his retirement with the closing of Kay LC (lunch center) in Hilo on Aug. 15.

“After 30-some-odd years, it’s about time to retire,” said Okuda, who stepped away from the business for a brief time several years ago before reopening the restaurant in 2011.

Okuda now will be leasing the popular Kilauea Avenue eatery to Michael Inouye, who expects to have his full-service ramen noodle house, Restaurant Kenichi, in operation by the end of the August.

kay-lc-closing-sign

The sign on the door of Kay LC restaurant announcing its closing on Aug. 15. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Inouye has managed his father’s floral business in Hilo for the past 15 years while suppressing his passion for restaurants. He cut his food service chops in Honolulu at places like Side Street Inn and Nicholas Nickolas. Fresh local fish and farm products will be top priorities in his food preparation, he said.

Inouye also said Kay LC favorites like Korean chicken, will remain on the menu with the addition of Side Street-style pork chops and sizzling steak to complement the full array of traditional home-style ramen dishes.

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“I’ve been waiting for a ramen restaurant in Hilo for years,” Inouye said. “God just told me it would have to be me.”

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Okuda, who remains director of the food services program at Hawaii Community College, expressed thanks to the restaurant’s many loyal customers and supporters over the years.

Kay LC is located at 684 Kilauea Ave., Hilo. Call 969-1776

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