A Blast From the PastAli Carte Columns
March 10, 2013
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Isn’t it amazing how the familiar taste of a meal you haven’t had in a while can conjure up a world of memories with one simple bite? It’s a sensation Kenny’s Restaurant assistant manager Erlene Hutchinson recently experienced when sampling the diner-style eatery’s reincarnation of an old-time favorite: Suzy Q ($10.35, special price) burger with fries.
“Ohhh, brought back so many memories when I first had it again!” she nostalgically exclaims when describing what it was like to eat the teri beef burger topped with American cheese and drizzling teriyaki sauce for the first time in years. “I used to always order it with a slush float.”
Suzy Q is part of a slew of signature sandwiches the establishment is bringing back to life. Sharing in Hutchinson’s excitement are countless locals who grew up enjoying these dishes they were offered at Kenny’s original location on North School Street, Kenny’s Burger House, from 1960 until its closing in 2002.
While the current eatery — which opened right next to the burger house in 1965 — brilliantly continues the tradition of serving American classics with a local twist, the memory of the initial drive-in’s beloved sandwiches still lingers in local patrons’ growling tummies.
“They were all really popular,” says Hutchinson, who’s been with Kenny’s Restaurant for 32 years. “Customers always come in and say, ‘Oh, what happened to the sandwiches you used to sell at the Burger House?’ So that’s why we wanted to bring them back, for those who remember them from long ago.”
In addition to Suzy Q, old timers will rediscover Teri King ($13.45, special price), which features “double the teri beef,” and Porky Boy ($8.95, special price) prepared with house-made Kalua pig and teriyaki sauce.
Kenny’s throwback menu doesn’t come without a new twist, however. Bringing 30 years of experience to the table, the diner’s newest chef, Lester Omuro, has found a way to bring an upscale touch to the good ol’ classics. “We’re using thinly sliced ribeye for the teri beef,” he says when describing one of the improvements. “It’s a better-quality beef.”
Omuro also recommends refreshing your memory of the Beefy Boy ($11.65, special price) made with two hamburger patties, or the Cheesy Gal ($12.55, special price), which features two patties and double the American cheese.
Each item is served on a sesame bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle with fries on the side.
Now a whole new generation of customers can embrace these adored eats, just as their parents and grandparents did. Be sure to take advantage of the special 10 percent discount available until March 24.
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.