HANALEI — When the torrential rains from Hurricane Lane started, Hanalei Dolphin manager Morgan Needham got worried.
“It was nerve-wracking because I wasn’t there, last time I was there,” she said. “But it was 5 inches of water this time versus 5 feet.”
Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant Fish Market and Sushi Lounge has been closed and rebuilding after April floods. It’s an iconic stop at the gateway to Hanalei Town, situated along Kuhio Highway next to the Hanalei River.
It’s been in its original location since the early 1970s, and on the evening of April 14 the restaurant flooded with its 80-100 employees on-site. Vehicles were under water and employees were stranded.
“No employees were stranded this time, but we thought it was going to be a lot worse than it ended up being,” Needham said. “It was surreal. We were very concerned.”
April’s floods spurred an entire renovation of the restaurant and the goal was to open in early September. Hurricane Lane threw a wrench in that plan, but only set the timeline back a couple of weeks.
Now, the goal is to open sometime in the second or third week in September.
“We put up the compressors and new equipment on pallets before the hurricane and we were lucky we left it up for a couple of days because the flooding happened after the hurricane,” Needham said.
It’s not a total loss this time around, but two flood events in four months is a concerning trend.
“We hope this isn’t the new normal for the North Shore,” Needham said. “When we get rains like that, it’s scary.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.