“When It Rains, It Pours”, this phrase describes the struggles of one restaurateur in recent months. The devastating floods that impacted the Hawaiian Islands on March 9, 2021 was just another setback for Kāneʻohe local boy and Castle alumnus, Dean Mishima of Dean’s Drive Inn. It wasn’t enough that the COVID-19 pandemic caused huge economic hardship for this Kāneʻohe business, but add the damage from flood waters and it makes staying in business almost impossible.
Deans classmates from Castle High School's class of 1973 came together to help him recover from this setback. The rescue effort started immediately. On the day after the devastating flood, his classmates were brainstorming ideas for raising funds to recover his business. The class went out of their way to help Dean. Interviews with KITV, KGMB and the Honolulu Star Advertiser were arranged that helped to communicate his plight. Rain damages so far have amounted to about $40,000 in water, and mud damage to supplies, booths, and his exhaust fan. His classmates created an event on EventBrite to raise some money on ONE DAY, by selling some of Deans popular plate lunches, and gift certificates. Sales to help Dean was so overwhelming that on the day of pick up, Sunday March 21, 2021, they had to ask purchasers to come on another day. The funds raised to help Dean were nearly enough to cover his unexpected repair expenses.
Dean is extremely grateful for the response of the community and especially of his classmates, the Castle Class of 1973 for coming to his rescue. He was overcome with happy tears when he saw the result of that campaign. He was so humbled and said it was "unbelievable."
The repairs are ongoing as is the PANDEMIC. Dean's Drive Inn is open for business. Support our local restaurants.
Back in the summer of 2006, Dean's Drive Inn opened its doors to local-style cuisine in a small, five table, mom-and-pop restaurant located in the heart of Kāneʻohe. After being featured in local newspaper articles, winning an ʻIlima Award, and dishing out favorites on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, chef/owner Dean Mishima gained recognition and popularity in both the local community of Hawaiʻi and nationally.
It was this popularity that paved the way in 2015 to move to a bigger Kāneʻohe property. Dean's Drive Inn became a spacious, 20-table restaurant and boasts a drive thru/take out window, ample parking, and a party room. Dean attributes his survival through the pandemic (which cut his revenue in half) to that drive thru/take out window.
To watch the episodes of Dean on Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives, just clck on the photos below.
We are proud to say that Dean is another example of Castle High School success. Help us to support our future leaders, by becoming a member of Castle Alumni/Community Association and Donate! We are a non-profit 501(c)(3), charitable, educational organization, created to promote and support the development of James B. Castle High School and the schools in the Castle Complex.