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Ali Carte

The Breakfast Club

Story By Ali Resich Photos By Nathalie Walker
April 15 - 21, 2012

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About 20 years ago, an Island institution known for making the best plate lunches and local dishes decided to add a plateful of breakfast classics to its menu. Rainbow Drive-In hasn’t looked back since. “Although we’re basically known as the plate lunch place, we do have a breakfast crowd and people who come specifically for breakfast,” says vice president Jim Gusukuma.

A pillar of the 51-year-old eatery’s success has been the longevity of its original recipes still offered today. Breakfast sensations are no exception, with favorites such as Fried Rice ($5.50) becoming a staple of the drive-in’s very own “breakfast club.” This comforting shoyu-based fry-up features a beloved combination of white onions, Portuguese sausage and celery. “Breakfast runs from 7 to 10:30 a.m.,” Gusukuma explains, “but most of the time the Fried Rice runs out before 10:30.”

On a sweeter note, the iconic spot also serves large, fluffy buttermilk Pancakes ($4.60, three pieces), which are available in short stacks as well. And no breakfast is complete without Sweet Bread French Toast ($5.50, five pieces), made voluptuously delicious from thick-cut sweet bread.

But for some breakfast-goers, the thought of stopping by Rainbow’s without getting a plate lunch is simply unbearable. “A lot of people wanted to eat breakfast — they wanted eggs, but they wanted plate lunch too, so we decided to combine it,” says Gusukuma of coming up with Breakfast Specials ($5.50). Any plate lunch, such as the ever-popular Boneless Chicken Cutlet Breakfast Plate ($5.50), is served with eggs (cooked any style) instead of mac salad. Diners also may substitute white or wheat toast for rice.

With 20 years of breakfast experience under its belt, you can trust in the Kapahulu mainstay to start your day off right.

Fried Rice ($5.50)

Rainbow Drive-In

  • Where
    • 3308 Kanaina Avenue
    • Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Call
    • (808) 737-0177
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Notes
    • Free parking available.
  • Website