Business

Luquin’s Reopens in New Location

January 18, 2019, 8:56 PM HST
* Updated January 18, 9:24 PM
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Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant in Pāhoa reopened on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, after being closed due to a fire that destroyed the restaurant and the historic Akebono Theater on Jan. 16, 2017.

Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant in Pāhoa, Jan. 18, 2019. PC: BIN

Shortly after the fire, owner Salvador Luquin said that he had planned to rebuild at the same location, but those plans changed when he was offered the former building that KFC had built on Kahakai Boulevard in Woodland Center.

Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant in Pāhoa, Jan. 18, 2019. PC: BIN

After the fire, Luquin set up a food truck on the restaurant’s former location.

“The menu is organized a little differently, but we still offer all of our items and are adding some great specials, like the Chile Verde and Chile Colorado to the everyday menu,” said Kirstin Heid, who co-manages the restaurant. “There is a beautiful bar, and we have our liquor license. We [have] 8 to 12 beers on tap and of course our great margaritas.”

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The drive-through window isn’t going to be used for food pick up, but the owner plans to incorporate some outdoor seating in the future.

Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant in Pāhoa, Jan. 18, 2019. PC: BIN

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The Kahakai building once served as a temporary kitchen in 2018 for the World Central Kitchen Organization shortly after Kīlauea erupted in the Lower East Rift Zone that displaced thousands of Puna residents and left them few dining options or even businesses from which they could purchase food.

Meals prepared at the temporary kitchen were brought to evacuation shelters throughout Puna as well as the Pu‘uhonua O Puna Hub.

Besides housing KFC initially, the building has also been the home of Mauka Makai restaurant and Aloha Lehua Cafe restaurants for a brief time. Mauka Makai lasted for a few months but then decided the location wasn’t the best for their operations and Aloha Lehua Cafe took over the building.

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Aloha Lehua Cafe was a mainstay in the building until they decided to close their doors in 2016.

Former location of Luquin’s Restaurant and Akebono Theater. PC: Tiffany Rippa

The restaurant is located at 15-1448 Kahakai Boulevard, in the Woodland Center in Pāhoa.

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