Terry Kakazu

HASR Bistro/Wine Bar, Chinatown

Where were you born and raised? I was raised in Kapahulu. Went to Kaimuki High School and was the first female pep squad drummer ever (laughs).

You’ve had a very successful bar (Terry’s Place) for more than 20 years, a wine store for almost eight years and now a restaurant. Was it always your intention to be in the world of food and wine? Not really. I was playing golf one day and a friend told me about a bar for sale. I thought it would be a great idea. We started Paul and Terry’s, and we had the first satellite football on TV and the first live karaoke.

What started your interest in fine wine? That came about because my husband laughed at my wine collection when we first met. He gave me a book on wine, told me about five great wineries and told me to go try to get to know them better. That started it all for me.

HASR, your wine store in Chinatown, has been open for almost eight years. Is it where you want it to be? We’re really happy with it. We’ve created a following and people know that they can call us for wines that they can’t get anywhere else.

So was the bistro a natural extension of the store? Yeah, I think it is a perfect marriage. The idea was to base it loosely on the French Laundry kind of food experience – and while we can’t do fine food exclusively, we have created a Bistro Room with private dining for 10-20 people. People are really enjoying the experience. We serve a prix fixe menu of between five and seven courses and can pair it with wines.

For most people, one part of this challenging industry would be enough to handle. You are involved in several. You are obviously very driven! Yes, I’m very competitive. Real hands-on. I call the store and the restaurant four or five times a day when I’m traveling. People say I micro-manage, but I don’t even really know what they mean by that term (smiles).

What’s the secret to longevity in this industry? I have a great family. My mother helps take care of my son, and my sister is my lifeline. She’s my eyes at the business and she helps pick up every loose end. I have great support. I think that’s really important.

Where do you like to go when you’re not at work? I love sushi, and my son and I like to try different places. At Evergreen on Kapiolani, believe it or not, there’s a great little sushi bar, Mr Mori. It has some great sushi, and the prices are unbelievably good. And I love Korean food, too.

What’s always in your fridge? Fruit and chocolate popsicles. And kim chee. And microwavable rice … just in case.