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Checking in With Alison “Bo” Tanaka of Tanaka of Tokyo

Posted in: Food & Drink, People

I last talked to Alison “Bo” Tanaka in early 2020 when I interviewed her for the story, “A Night Out At Tanaka of Tokyo” that was published in our This Week Oahu magazine and on this website:  

https://www.thisweekhawaii.com/articles/160/night-out-tanaka-tokyo/ 

At the time, the corporate general manager was excited about their new Ohana Waikiki East by Outrigger restaurant, their third in Waikiki. In hindsight, a quote from that story seems like good planning now:

“We’re very proud of our new Ohana East location,” she said then. “It’s the only location that has open-air dining, and we offer fully validated parking. We also have the newest table technology—EVO smart grills that filter out the cooking smoke and emit clean air.”

Open-air dining? Filtering systems?

Sounds like Tanaka almost knew what was coming. “As it turns out, those restaurant features are of great benefit for the health and safety of our guests and team members,” she says. “But of course, like everyone else, we were caught off-guard by the tourism shutdown.” 

Tanaka of Tokyo has been operating as a locally owned family business in Honolulu for 43 years. The first location was opened and run by Bo’s father Richard in 1978. “My father made the Tanaka name specializing in performance teppanyaki and serving the highest quality seafood and Certified Angus Beef. Our success is rooted in combining traditional Japanese teppanyaki with a local twist that is unique to Hawaii.”  

Tanaka recalls the company navigating through many challenging times, but nothing as devastating as the Covid-19 Pandemic, “which has forced us to change, adapt, and try new things we never would have considered previously.”

“The fact that we have survived is due to the wonderful leadership of our President, Hiroshi Lamansky, and the financial wizardry of our Administrative Vice President, Calvin Yamasaki.  Words are inadequate to describe their dedication and determination.  We are grateful to them beyond words.” 

February 1st marked a day of celebration for the Tanaka of Tokyo family. “We were finally able to re-open our third and final location for dine-in. All three of our restaurants survived 2020 and are now open thanks to the encouragement and support of so many of our local customers, our managers, and our staff.  When we were closed and only doing takeout it was touching how many customers told us they wanted to support and help us make it through – it really cheered and motivated us.”   

“Like it has been for so many businesses on our islands, it has been a struggle to survive but we continue to fight to stay open so we can serve our community and returning guests. We are following all the City & County mandates and regulations to ensure that we are serving in a safe environment. Being a teppanyaki restaurant, we have powerful exhaust systems in all our locations. Every inch of air in Tanaka of Tokyo is vented out and replaced by fresh air every two minutes, making us the safest dining rooms in Hawaii!” 

If you are a returning guest, Bo Tanaka and her team can’t wait to serve you again. And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, they’re looking forward to welcoming you safely to their three Waikiki locations. 

Follow Tanaka of Tokyo on Facebook and Instagram for monthly deals and specials!

Instagram: @tanakaoftokyo

Facebook: facebook.com/tanakaoftokyo 

CENTRAL LOCATION- WAIKIKI SHOPPING PLAZA

DINE IN ONLY 5:00PM-8:30PM

(808) 922-4702 

WEST LOCATION- ALA MOANA SHOPPING CENTER

DINE IN: 5:00PM-9:00PM

TAKEOUT: 12:00PM-2:00PM & 4:00PM-7:30PM 

(808) 945-3443

(curbside pickup available) 

EAST LOCATION- OHANA WAIKIKI EAST HOTEL (OPENING FEBRUARY 1ST!)

DINE IN: 5:00PM-9:00PM

TAKEOUT: 12:00PM-2:00PM & 4:00PM-7:30PM 

(808) 922-4233

(curbside pickup available) 

Tanaka of Tokyo is on Open Table.

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