Chamber Spotlight Haleiwa Joe’s – A Timeless North Shore Hot Spot Haleiwa
Joe’s Restaurant located at 66-011 Kamehameha Highway by the picturesque Anahulu Stream Bridge (aka Rainbow Bridge) welcomes kama‘aina and visitors alike with appealing fresh food and drink and a scenic picture postcard setting overlooking spectacular surf. Opened for seating seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., later on weekends, the restaurant specializes in island fresh seafood as well as hand-cut steaks and prime rib.
The casual full service restaurant serves American food with a Pacific-Asian flair for all appetites and pocketbooks. Telephone: 808-637-8005. The setting is the former location of the Haleiwa Hotel built in the late 19th century by Benjamin J. Dillingham and the first destination resort in the state. By 1953, the grand Victorian hotel, now termite ridden, was torn down and soon replaced by the Seaview Inn, a restaurant and bar still fondly remembered by many locals. The Chart House followed, and when Joe Lazar was offered the management position there in 1990, he felt “blessed.”
Growing up in San Diego, he had been to Hawaii numerous times. He also was familiar with the culture thanks to his best friend’s mother, who was from Hawaii. “I’m a surfer, right? It was too good to be true,” he said. “I was pinching myself!” However, situations change and so did the ownership of the Chart House national corporation. After Lazar spent eight years on the job, the new corporate executives decided to close down the Haleiwa location. “They called me up one Saturday morning while I was watching cartoons with my kids to tell me we were closing that night,” Lazar said.
He was offered a Chart House position on the Mainland, but he decided to stay put. Even though he was born and raised in California, this was home – no two ways about it. “I was blessed to get the lease from Kamehameha Schools,” he said. “The community came out to help us fix up the place. My crew came and helped in the interim while we were waiting to negotiate the lease. Good will was built up in the community.” So when the new Haleiwa Joe’s opened its doors in 1998, a trained crew was already on hand, according to Lazar. “It was a no-brainer.”
Another Haleiwa Joe’s restaurant, also previously a Chart House restaurant, was opened three years later in Kaneohe and is now run by his partner Tim York. In the mid-1990s, Lazar, a devoted family man and business leader, led an all-volunteer effort for six years known as Haleiwa Main Street to stimulate the local economy and preserve the culture and history of the community. This was the precursor to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, which Lazar still actively supports. Haleiwa Joe’s continues to give back – from donations to local clubs and surf contests to support for large annual non-profit events. With its strong community participation, inviting ambience, and wide array of enticing food choices, Haleiwa Joe’s primary form of advertising is word-of-mouth. No surprise there.