The Royal Hawaiian, once the watering hole for locals hankering for a good tropical drink and a kitschy, tiki vibe, closed its doors last weekend after 65 years.
The latest owner, Lyndon Douglas Cole, said the largest contributor to its closure was the restaurant's conditional use permit, which only allowed amplified music and entertainment until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. He also cited lease negotiations and the slow economy.
Before the permit was issued Feb. 23, 2011, the restaurant had offered live entertainment until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays without necessary city approval. Cole said that without those extra two hours, the restaurant lost nearly $25,000 a month.
However, the city maintains that it did its best to balance the considerations of the adjacent neighborhood and those of the business.
Some Lagunans contend that the Royal Hawaiian's change of ownership in 2006 from Francis Cabang, who opened it in 1947, altered the restaurant dramatically. After that happened, the place just wasn't the same.