Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 23, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #69


There used to be a Filipino restaurant next to the 31 flavors near the intersection of South King Street and Punahou.

It existed ever so briefly before it was officially closed down due to health concerns. The unofficial reason, of course, was a bit more nefarious. It was a period of flux in nineteen-eighty one where so many things were happening, and so many changes were taking place locally and globally. Rayon aloha shirts were all the rage, and Japanese culture was on the upswing. At that time, I was a lowly dishwasher at California Vineyard, which had long since closed down. After work, I'd walk all the way to the bus stop fronting the department of health on Beretania, where I'd catch the last Waipahu or Makaha bus back home. Sometimes, if I got off early enough, I'd stop by the 31 flavors for a quick float, then I'd be off. One day, I noticed a Filipino restaurant next to the ice cream shop and thought I'd pop in for some lumpia and a bowl of Abobo and fried rice. I have to say, it was the best I'd ever tasted. Everything was put together with the right amount of ingredients, and it was just enough to make you want more. Good overall marketing strategy because a week later, there was a line going straight out the door. As other people did, I realized that you had to get there early to get the good stuff because once ten in the morning rolled around, forget it. A month later, the 31 flavors began to complain about the parking because there was none. All the cars were there for the Filipino restaurant. Everyone else had to find parking on the street or a block away somewhere and walk back to get some ice cream. Two months later, I was standing in line late one night, waiting for my coke float at the 31 ice cream shop. Well, I was the only person in line because it was just me. The owner and one other younger girl ran the counter and the cash register. After paying for my purchase, I sat down at a table in the corner and read a magazine while enjoying my float. It was my thing back then, off and on. The young girl handled the cash register while the owner sat down at my table. "Eh, you heard about the Filipino restaurant over here? The one next door?"

"No," I looked up. "What happened?"

"You know how that restaurant, the customers took up all the parking, right?" He leaned forward and whispered.

"Right," I leaned forward as well.

"Pretty soon, same cars in the parking lot for days," his tone became ominous.

"What does that mean?" I was confused.

"Was one soup that was so fricking good that everybody kept coming back for the soup," he continued. "But you know how sometimes, people ask for the recipe, yeah? So Dese guys neva like give the recipe, come to find out, the recipe is the owners of all the old cars sitting outside in the parking lot!"

"Whaaaaaat?" I had to contain myself from raising my voice. "What!?"

"I wen try 'um myself one time! Was soo good!" He nodded his head. "Now, every time I think about 'um, I get sick, like now! Excuse me, yeah?"

The owner ran off to the bathroom, and I didn't bother waiting for him to surface. Instead, I left and headed to my bus stop on Beretania. After that, the restaurant was practically gone the next day. I wonder where they re-surfaced, if ever? And if so, what name would they open under? The strange thing about all of this is that until this very day, forty years later, I can't remember the name of the Filipino restaurant that existed for a few months before closing down and disappearing completely.