Local favorite Orchid of Hawaii goes out with a bang

Feb 2, 2024

LAKEVILLE — After 37 years of providing the community of Lakeville with Mai Tais, Karaoke and good times, the Orchid of Hawaii permanently closed its doors on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Owner Rebecca Lau lived in New York City and worked in the fashion and jewelry industry for 18 years before taking over the Orchid of Hawaii in 2016 after her mother, who originally owned the business with Lau’s father, became very sick, she said.

This forced her to step away from life as she knew it and take over the family business, Lau explained.

“I noticed right away that there were a lot of regulars that would come, I would see them every day,” said Lau. “But I had no idea how much history and connection with the community this place had.

On Jan. 21, Lau announced on Facebook that the Orchid of Hawaii would be closing.

According to Lau, the outpouring of support on the post — over 250 comments — made her realize how many people have great memories of times at the Orchid of Hawaii over the last 37 years.

“This place has a very family feel and not just for customers but for me,” said Lau. “There are staff members who have known me since I was a little kid.”

Lau decided to set up a buffet style all-you-can-eat dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 31 for regulars and longtime customers to be able to have one more memorable night inside the Orchid of Hawaii.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Peter Botelho, who described the restaurant as “a legend.”

“I remember going on dates here back when I was in high school,” he said.

According to Lau, Wednesday night capped off an extremely busy stretch for the Orchid of Hawaii staff.

“This weekend was crazy, I had a feeling it was going to be busy but we didn’t think it would be that busy,” said Lau. “We had to stop letting people in.”

A line of customers eager to get one more taste of the neighborhood favorite could be seen for the majority of Friday evening.

“I’ve been here every day since I heard that they were closing,” said Orchid of Hawaii regular and Lakeville resident Noela Peck. “I have met so many great people here over the years — this is a special place.”

Karaoke has been a weekend staple at Orchid of Hawaii for a while, explained Lau. She said that there was a sense of joy in the restaurant on the final Karaoke night on Saturday, Jan. 27, resulting in “a great farewell.”

Lau said that her seven years in the restaurant business were both enjoyable and challenging.

“When everyone was sleeping or spending time with their families, I was working,” Lau explained. “It can be fun on a bustling Friday or Saturday when things are in their place and things run [smoothly], but it’s so easy for things not to [go smoothly.]”

“My parents created something that has become part of people’s lives,” said Lau. “I’ve just tried to do the best I can.”