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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2005

Yum Yum Tree closing on Sunday

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Yum Yum Tree at Ward Centre saw many loyal customers over the years but has been told to make way for a new tenant or tenants.

Advertiser library photo


Hawai'i's last Yum Yum Tree will close at Ward Centre on Sunday.

The restaurant, which opened in 1982 and was part of a chain, had been on a month-to-month lease for the past couple of years, but recently was told by center owner General Growth Properties that it had to make way for a new tenant or tenants.

"It's a shame," said Doug Whitehurst, vice president of operations for Yum Yum Tree owner TP Acquisitions. "But when they tell you c'est la vie, what are you going to do?"

Whitehurst, who has worked for Yum Yum Tree's parent company since 1984, said he will miss the restaurant's many loyal customers, some of whom visited every day, and its 42 employees, some of whom have worked there since the eatery opened.

Whitehurst said TP Acquisitions looked into relocating Yum Yum Tree, but attractive retail space is too expensive.

Yum Yum Tree was created by Trans/Pacific Restaurants Inc., a California company that at one time owned or operated about 30 restaurants in Hawai'i, including Jolly Roger, Islander Coffee House, Monterey Bay Canners and Sizzler restaurants.

Trans/Pacific, which also operated restaurants in California, filed for bankruptcy in 1996, and many restaurants were closed or sold. In 1997, Nevada-based TP Acquisitions bought 11 restaurants, including three Yum Yum Trees.