Maui restaurants were destroyed in the fires future is uncertain
When Qiana Di Bari and her family saw a puff of smoke near their home on August 8, they knew they had to get out.
She had spotted and extinguished a fire earlier that day in her vibrant Lahaina neighborhood. By late afternoon, Di Bari was hearing of more fires elsewhere on the island. She knew the island’s resources were stretched thin.
She said, “We knew we had to take care of ourselves when I saw the fire reignite.”
Her husband and daughter grabbed some essentials – cell phones, important documents, school books, a few outfits – and fled. She said, “My gut just told me to run.”. “Our neighborhood was gone in minutes.”
It was a miracle that Di Bari’s home survived. Sale Pepe Pizzeria e Cucina, the Italian restaurant she owns with her husband, didn’t.
After seeing our house survive, some irrational part of us thought … it would still be there,” she said of the restaurant, which was on Front Street, the main commercial strip in Lahaina. There was a house called Di Bari behind it.
There was, however, a fire that destroyed the restaurant.
In over a century, Maui’s fire two weeks ago was the deadliest in the United States. According to official estimates, 115 people have died and around 850 are still missing.
In addition to losing loved ones, pets, and homes, those who survived suffered devastating losses. The Di Bari’s, for example, saw their businesses destroyed.
The restaurant business is booming in Lahaina, a popular tourist destination that was particularly hard hit by the fires.