David and Anna Chan
If you had the pleasure to meet David and Anna Chan at the Honolulu Restaurant, you would agree with the many patrons - there is no other couple like them.
David and Anna came over to the states in 1970 with three young children. Their hopes were to provide a better life with endless opportunities for the family. Speaking little to no English, David took his first job with Trader Vic's as a bar boy working 13 hour days, while Anna stayed home raising the children (now with four) and sewing clothing to earn a little extra money.
David slowly worked his way up to a bartender at Trader Vic's in Washington, D.C. and began learning all the tricks-of-the-trade in bartending. He became a favorite to many - it has been documented that he was President Richard Nixon's favorite bartender. Anna had an equally, if not more difficult job raising four children, sewing clothing in her spare time, taking English classes, while maintaining a well-kept household.
Though they had constant battles with discrimination, language barriers, and keeping up with cost of living, it only made David and Anna stronger as individuals and as a couple.
Moving between Silver Spring, Maryland and Saskatchewan, Canada in the early to mid 70's, they finally settled in Alexandria, Virginia in 1978. David and Anna became the proud owners of the Honolulu Restaurant.
Business was rough at the beginning, where sales were less than $500 a day. David and Anna even considered closing the doors for good because the loss was so great. But perseverance prevailed and slowly, the power of word-of-mouth advertising helped build the clientele. Over the years, David and Anna became icons to the Alexandria area. When the doors finally closed for good in April 2004, it was apparent that David and Anna were truly loved, would be missed and never forgotten.
After more than 25 years of taking care of thousands
of patrons, David and Anna are finally getting a much welcomed and needed
The Honolulu Restaurant
Often referred to as the Chinese version of "Cheers," Honolulu Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia tantalized the taste buds of thousands of patrons for over 25 years with their special Polynesian and Chinese entrees and tiki-style mixed drinks. Owners David (known by his customers as "Dave") and Anna Chan welcomed customers from all over the world and many added the Honolulu Restaurant as a must-visit destination when visiting the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The Honolulu Restaurant was a popular gathering place whether it was to wind down from a hard day's work, celebrate a special occasion, or to enjoy a family dinner. Once you walked through the doors, the tiki atmosphere welcomed the customers into a place of pure enjoyment. When customers came to the restaurant, they got great food, knockout drinks, a soothing and friendly atmosphere, but most importantly they got the ultimate tiki experience.
Dave and Anna worked very hard to establish a strong customer base and a name in the community. In March 1990, the restaurant dealt with its first encounter with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The widening of Telegraph Road resulted in the restaurant losing approximately 50% of the parking lot.
The second encounter with VDOT in late 2003 which changed the future of Honolulu Restaurant. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge expansion project forced the restaurant to close in April 2004. During our last months, customers waited up to three hours to get a table and did not mind at all .they were just happy they came to say their "good-byes" to a place that became a big part of their weekly routine.
Not only did our customers show their loyalty to the restaurant, but the staff did as well. Our head chef, Wu Hsaiu Yu, worked for Dave and Anna on the very first day they opened in August 1978, up until the end in April 2004.
After putting over 105,000 hours into the restaurant during the last 25 ½ years, Dave and Anna are now enjoying their retirement .Dave is doing what he enjoys most - fishing and Anna well, in her words, "I am too young to retire!"
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