When the owners of Liliha Bakery opened the doors to their second location on Nimitz Hwy. Wednesday, they admit, they were not expecting the crowds that appeared.
Business was booming during the restaurant’s first day of service, which owners say was supposed to be a soft opening with little fanfare. But word quickly spread through social media, and seats and tables immediately filled.
Many customers say they’ve been waiting for months for the place to open.
For Washington resident Damon Baugh, the experience brought back childhood memories.
“We used to live on Kuakini St. next to Kuakini hospital so it was in walking distance, a five-minute walk for us when we were kids,” he said. “I used to go Kawanakoa and I used to spend my lunch money at Liliha, get couple of Coco Puffs and stuff like that.”
Unlike the original, the new restaurant on Nimitz Hwy. features 120 dining room seats and 45 counter seats, and will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.
“You get to sit down and eat over here — no more just the counter,” Baugh said. “The other place, you had only the counter and it gets crowded. It’s a lot more spacious over here.”
About 70 people were hired to staff the new location.
A grand opening celebration has yet to be announced.