Highway Inn is an Oahu-based restaurant founded by Hawaii-born Japanese-American Seiichi Toguchi. At the start of World War II, Seiichi was taken from his home to an internment camp in California and assigned to work in the mess halls. There, Japanese-American chefs from around the country taught him how to cook, eventually inspiring him to open Highway Inn to share the foods he loved growing up. Seiichi passed the restaurant down to his son Bobby Toguchi, who has since passed it to his daughter, Monica Toguchi Ryan. Their family has been proudly serving authentic Hawaiian food for over 70 years.
As the third generation owner, Monica was determined to not just honor her family traditions and legacy, but also to share with younger generations the kinds of food that keep them connected to Hawaiian and local food culture. When her grandfather started the restaurant, he relied on word of mouth to reach new customers. Now, Monica uses Google Ads and their Business Profile on Google to connect with customers, helping them to grow from one location to three across Oahu. She and her family hope to continue preserving the beauty and tradition of Hawaiian food for generations to come.
This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're telling this and other stories, like Kruti Dance Academy from Atlanta, Georgia. They are two of the many Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses having an impact on their local communities.