Another longtime restaurant bids farewell; Ryan’s Grill to serve last meal in January

Another restaurant is closing its doors after decades of business in Ward Centre.

Workers at Ryan’s Grill say the restaurant will close on Jan. 20, 2018.

The second-floor eatery has been open since 1983, and has been a bustling gathering place for locals and professionals during lunch, dinner, and happy hour.

This is just one of many longtime businesses in the area closing in recent months.

A commercial real estate expert says the millennial rampage has made its way to Hawaii’s restaurant industry, and this trend could continue over the next several years.

As Stephany Sofos explained, “the trend is happening for smaller boutique restaurants. Ryan’s is about 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, and there’s not the intimacy that millennials want to have and enjoy.”

According to Sofos, the younger generation is hungry for something new, something that provides a more intimate feel than many of the restaurants whose burners have been permanently shut off.

She says nowadays, going out is about being part of an experience, and “not one of many in a large crowd, and that’s what’s happening all across the United States and also in Europe, so everybody is looking for their own experience and millennials are driving it, because they are the ones who go out.”

The trend, she says, is downsizing. With rents going up along with the cost of goods and services, larger local restaurants are giving way to smaller boutique eateries.

Again, Sofos explains, it’s a product of millennial appetites.

“You have to cater to them,” Sofos said. “Restaurants like Ryan’s or Macaroni Grill, they are very large and suffering in sales because people are not going to them, because they are too large for people to feel comfortable.”

But for regulars of Ryan’s, their longtime lunch spot won’t be easy to let go

“I was very sad. I’ve come here, oh, how long have you folks been open?” said a customer. “My mom and I came here for an iconic lunch together. We didn’t have too many then, and we had the famous pea salad. We were so impressed by how good the salad was that we went home to try and produce it. … A few years later, after she passed, I would come here and remember the good times.”

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