It’s all about the seasoning at island-style eateryInside Feature
December 12, 2021
Story By: Maria Kanai | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Open since 1969, Shiro’s Saimin Haven credits its seasoned employees for its longevity and success. The restaurant serves island-style comfort food, including bentos, hamburger steak and, of course, excellent saimin noodles. The pandemic brought unique challenges, but the staff managed to learn and adapt.
“They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but our staff proved that saying wrong,” says Bryce Fujimoto, vice president and catering manager.
President Linda Matsuo recognizes the following longtime employees as the backbone of the company:
• Floramante Dela Cuadra (36 years) — Never misses a day of work! His wife begged us to make him take a vacation so they could take the whole family to Las Vegas.
• Rosario Hazelwood (25 years) — She loves gardening and football games and will talk your ears off.
• Nieves Perdido (36 years) — She is one of the original starting workers at our former Shiro’s in Waipahu. Coolheaded, confident and reliable.
• Rafaela Capinpin (36 years) — She is one of my first hires when I gave up my city job to work at Shiro’s full-time. She started as a counter help and within a year became the manager because of her intelligence and strong capabilities. She has been an instrumental pillar in Shiro’s Saimin growth.
• Bella Tangonan (25 years) — Through her dependability and responsibility, we have been able to grow exponentially.
• Nida Martinez (36 years) — Another original starting worker at former Shiro’s in Waipahu. Sweet and yet tough enough to survive all the challenges at the job and in her life.
• Ofelia Pigao (33 years) — We call her “Mrs. Aloha”. She is the friendliest, most caring and honest person ever. She will give extra special care to seniors who are disabled or who just need someone to talk to. She once turned in a bulging money bag she found at the mall with no hesitation. She freely shares her tips with the cooks.
• Charlyn Carino (28 years) — She is such a strong waitress and can work a full room without losing composure. She has the unique knack of remembering the order without taking notes!
• Emily Rarangol (34 years)
— Rock solid, smart, confident, stong-minded, reliable, tough yet soft-hearted and every other great characteristic you would want as a worker — that is Emily. If a worker passes orientation with Emily’s approval, then that worker will surely be successful.
Matsuo herself has been part of the company for 45 years.
“My father was the genius who created Shiro’s Saimin Haven with his cooking skills, his creative ideas and out-of-the-box marketing,” she says.
As president, she was responsible for adding structure and organization to build the company into a well-functioning, strong entity.
She adds, “Our employees are steadfastly loyal, trustworthy, humble and dependable. We’ve lived through so many catastrophes together — both professionally and personally. Truly, there are many more fine workers who have retired or who have passed away and have contributed to our success over our 50-plus years. We are grateful to all of them!”