• Marlena Medford

The Switchboard Restaurant & Bar

Established in 2020 by local Marine Corps veteran Kevin Shin inside The Fin Hotel, this Hawaiian-inspired restaurant pays homage to the women who worked in the historic building during World War II.

Photos courtesy of The Switchboard Restaurant & Bar

If there’s ever a crisis, Kevin Shin is someone you want nearby. For starters, he’s a fire captain who has spent 16 years as a first-responder. He’s also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Keeping cool under pressure is practically in his DNA.

He never guessed that grace under fire would someday help him to launch a business during a pandemic.

Like many unsuspecting entrepreneurs, he opened his restaurant, The Switchboard Restaurant & Bar, in early 2020 — right before the pandemic hit. As public health orders forced him to scale back, he naturally felt his stress levels rising.

“I decided to muster all the emergency training I had and use it to push through this however I could,” he said. “Mentally, I took off the side and rearview mirrors and hit the gas. It was either break or bust. There was no other direction to push except forward.”

He found inspiration from his mother, who remarkably lived through a similar situation.

“My mother is a Korean immigrant who came to this country with a few