HONOLULU — A popular Honolulu bar and restaurant is set to close and be replaced by a new outlet of one of the nation’s biggest restaurant chains, officials said.
The Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Ala Moana Center are scheduled to close next month, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.
Olive Garden Italian Kitchen plans to open its first Hawaii restaurant in the space at the state’s largest mall.
Bubba Gump Chief Operations Officer Jim DuFault said the closure is the result of a rental dispute.
DuFault said that “due to the landlord’s ridiculous demand substantially raising our rent, Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. located in Ala Moana Center will cease operations February 23, 2020.”
“We value our employees, their dedication to our company and are working to relocate them to our sister properties in Honolulu and Maui,” DuFault said.
Bubba Gump is prepared to file a lawsuit if the landlord or a future tenant attempts to “steal our Mai Tai intellectual property,” DuFault said.
Olive Garden filed a $50,000 building permit for Suite 3247 at the mall, the current location of the Mai Tai Bar.
The Italian-American restaurant chain, owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., is coming to Hawaii after years of television commercials running in the state.
Ala Moana Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.