Highway Inn, a family-owned Hawaii restaurant, has closed its doors at its Leoku Street location after 35 years. However, the owners are opening up a new establishment on Dec. 30 along Moloalo Street, which is adjacent to the Waipahu Rail Transit Station.
According to the owners, the restaurant, which is a 5,000-square foot, will include more seating, have live music on Fridays and a bar. The restaurant will be open for breakfast in February, and the plans are to introduce some popular items found at its Kakaako location (Smoked Moco, anyone?).
It will also have an advanced photovoltaic system that is anticipated to power all of the restaurant’s needs.
Nancy and Seiichi Toguchi founded the Highway Inn in 1947 and was a part of the Waipahu community for over 70 years with its offerings of both American and Hawaiian foods. In the beginning, there were just three employees.
The Toguchis eventually moved the restaurant to Depot Road in 1960, not far from the Waipahu Sugar Mill.
When the next generation came into power, the Highway Inn again relocated to its now-former Leoku Street location.
The restaurant is currently owned by Monica Toguchi Ryan, third-generation, who is following in her dad’s footsteps (his name is Bobby). She has helped the Highway Inn expand to a second location in the area of Kakaako and began a café operation in the Bishop Museum.
Today, 120 people are working at the Highway Inn’s three locations.
Highway Inn has won the Family Business of the Year award twice with both Nancy and Seiichi Toguchi inducted into the Hawaii Restaurant Association Hall of Fame.
In May 2019, to recognize Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Highway Inn was chosen from over 7,000 small-owned businesses across the area to be highlighted in the Google Small Business video that celebrates the impact small businesses have around the world.