It was a strange thing, watching a Maui County deputy prosecuting attorney apologize to a liquor licensee he just recommended fining $1,000, but Scott Hanono did exactly that during a break in the Jan. 4, 2007 Liquor Control Board of Adjudication hearing.
“Hope you don’t hold this against me because I really enjoy your food,” he told Longhi’s owner Bob Longhi just outside the LC’s hearing room. Waiting as the Adjudication Board deliberated on what to fine Longhi’s Lahaina establishment for serving a customer that appeared to be drunk when he walked in, Longhi was clearly in his element.
Wearing a yellow shirt, white pants, black loafers (no socks) and a silver bangle around his right wrist—Longhi smiled and chatted with Hanono. They talked of Longhi’s recently playing bridge with ex-Mayor Alan Arakawa and University of Hawai`i football.
Earlier that day, the author of the 1998 book Longhi’s: Recipes and Reflections from Maui’s Most Opinionated Restauranteur had spoken briefly with LC Director Franklyn Silva about health problems that had kept him out of the spotlight for some time. And at the beginning of the hearing, board member Donald Fuji`i made a point to walk over to the visitor’s gallery and say high to Longhi.
“Why have we been successful?” Longhi asked in his book. “Longhi’s is a place where a customer will have not only a delicious meal—and great service—but even more important, a wonderful time.”
In the end the LC voted to fine Longhi’s $2,000, but suspended half that amount barring no further violation for a year. But even they seemed to be having a wonderful time.