The Crouching Lion, the Kaaawa restaurant with a troubled history of repeated failures under a string of owners, has reportedly gotten a new lease on life, according to Pacific Business News.
Advanced Fresh Concepts, one of the largest fresh sushi suppliers to supermarkets across the United States is moving ahead with plans for its second Oahu restaurant, at the historic Crouching Lion Inn complex in Windward Oahu, Pacific Business News has learned.
But PBN repeats an error when it refers to “the 90-year-old inn along Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.”
Although the building was built in the 1920’s, it was originally a private residence. The man who built the house was George F. Larsen, originally from Oslo, Norway.
According to his granddaughter, Larsen was “a successful mason contractor who arrived in Honolulu in 1912 to help with the construction of Schofield Barracks.”
In 1937, the home was sold to Reginald Faithful, then the head of Dairyman’s Association, one of the islands’ largest dairies and predecessor of Meadow Gold Dairies.
Then in the early 1950’s, my father, John M. Lind, came up with the idea of converting the building to a roadside inn. He approached Faithful and proposed a partnership. Faithful would make the building available, and my father, who managed a restaurant supply firm, would operate the business. They finally reached an agreement, and the Crouching Lion opened in 1952.
Here’s how my dad described it years later, in 2005 at age 92.
We set up a nice little kitchen. We put in tables and chairs for four people each, total seating about 60 in the living room and dining room, with a huge fireplace on one end, and it created an atmosphere that we weren’t very accustomed to in Hawaii. It made a very very nice setting.
We arranged to get a chef who was from Ireland, Joe Sheridan, and we had menus set up. We had Aggie Kellett, one of the women from the [Waikiki] Surf Club, come in as hostess and manager. So we had the chef in the kitchen, a gal in the dining room to greet the guests, and it was set up pretty much as a chafing dish-type food service from the cart to the table with fancy chafing dishes, ladles, and things of that nature.
We served luncheon and dinners. It was all specialty food. The dinners were all candle lit tables with tablecloths.
Joe Sheridan, the first chef, was quite colorful with his white coat and his high crown chef’s hat working the dining room as well as the kitchen.
Carl Reber, who was manager of the Commercial Club, asked if there was any possible chance of him getting work out there. When Joe decided he was going to leave, Carl was given the job and he seemed to enjoy it.
It was outstanding, but not to the point where there were a lot of people (chuckle).
We were told we were about 10 years too soon because round the island travel was not too heavy, and the attempt to get the cars to stop wasn’t too successful.