Fish Hopper feeding its laid-off employees

  • A meal for furloughed Fish Hopper employees and their families is provided by the restaurant. Courtesy Photo

  • Fish Hopper furloughed employee Clara Gray-Stallings signs up for her next day family meal order Wednesday at the restaurant. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Furloughed Fish Hopper office administrator Dina picks up meals for her family provided by the restaurant on Wednesday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Amid massive furloughs and layoffs, with the stay-at-home order taking effect throughout the state, one West Hawaii restaurant is doing what they can to take care of their employees.

Fish Hopper Restaurant on Alii Drive had to lay off 72 employees when it transformed to a takeout-only establishment on Monday.

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The restaurant is open for to-go and curbside pick-up, however, they have not been very busy, but are committed to taking care of their staff ohana, General Manager Sam Johnson said Wednesday.

“We are committed to feeding our entire staff every single day to get them through this,” he said.

Not only are they feeding their employees, but their families too.

“As the word gets out to our team members, we could get up to 200 meals every day,” said Johnson.

Johnson set up three tables in the dining room with sanitized pens for employees to sign in, pick up their meals and provide a time for they would like to pick up their food the following day.

Each employee who came for a meal on Wednesday received a half-dozen eggs, a cup of clam chowder and chicken fajitas for every family member plus bottled water.

“This is the passion our owners, Chris and Sabu Shake Jr., and we have for our employees … nobody wants to go through anything like this. Even though we had to do what we had to do as a business, we still need to let these employees know we care about them,” he said.

Johnson said the owners are also providing the service to their employees at their Monterey, California, locations.

“Our owners are enduring this cost as a goodwill,” he said.

Employee Clara Gray-Stallings stopped by to pick up her meal Wednesday afternoon.

“This is awesome,” she said. “They love us and take care of us. We’ve got to stay healthy.”

Dina, a furloughed office administrator, echoed the sentiment.

“The owners are taking care of their employees and supporting the community. That’s priceless,” she said. “I’m honored to work for them.”

The restaurant is currently open for takeout between 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Johnson said they are following guidelines for social distancing and sanitation procedures for all of their orders.

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For patrons wanting to order to-go, Fish Hopper is taking phone orders at 326-2002. The restaurant is currently offering 25% off their menu price for takeout orders. Their menu is available online at www.thefishhopper.com/kona.

Delivery is also available through www.foodsohawaiidelivery.com.

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