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L&L Opens New Location in Mililani Mauka

Columns Foodie Fare

July 21, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

For more than 40 years, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has been a mainstay for plate lunches and other local staples. Serving up a mix of local favorites and Asian-American fusion, the restaurant has proven that its popularity has a mass appeal. Starting from just one restaurant in the 1970s, L&L now has about 40 locations on Oahu alone. Although L&L’s slogan is “Hawaii’s Favorite Plate Lunch,” it’s clear that people from all over the world love L&L’s local flavors.

“(The restaurant) was actually bought as a gift from (owner) Eddie Flores to his mom,” explains director of marketing Brandon Dela Cruz. “But when his mom didn’t want to run the restaurant anymore, he took it back.”

After that, Flores teamed up with business partner Johnson Kam and the pair decided to expand L&L.

“They brought the restaurant from one to almost 200 locations throughout the world,” Dela Cruz explains.

Today, the restaurant can be found in Japan, New Zealand and China, as well as in states, including California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Colorado.

With its ever-growing franchise and global popularity, L&L continues to grow here in the Islands, too. Just a couple of weeks ago, L&L opened its newest Oahu store in Mililani Mauka.

At the new location, you can find L&L favorites like BBQ Chicken (prices vary based on location). And like all of the restaurant’s plate lunches, the dish comes with two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad.

“This features our special L&L Hawaiian barbecue marinade,” Dela Cruz says, adding that the sauce is sweet and salty.

According to Dela Cruz, another customer favorite is BBQ Short Ribs (prices vary), which also is bathed in the same sweet and salty sauce.

Of course, L&L also offers local creations such as Spam Musubi (prices vary) and Saimin (prices vary), which features noodles swimming in L&L’s broth, along with a choice of meat including Spam, chicken or beef.

For a seafood selection, Dela Cruz recommends Fried Fish Filet (prices vary), which is dipped in L&L’s signature batter and deep-fried.

On the Side

In addition to pleasing the palates of its patrons, L&L aims to bring joy to the community in other ways. Last week, the restaurant delivered food to 50 local families in need at the Keeaumoku Walmart L&L. The families, which were chosen by Institute for Human Services, were treated to some of L&L’s most popular items, including Chicken Katsu, Hamburger Steak and Kalua Pork.

The community outreach effort was the brainchild of franchise owner Eddie Flores.

“This is something that Eddie really wanted to do,” marketing director Brandon Dela Cruz explains. “Eddie came here (to Hawaii) 50 years ago. He immigrated here from China, and he is having a reunion here with his family and celebrating the 50th anniversary of when they moved here.”

As a symbol of appreciation for the community, Flores wanted to do something to help those in need.

“He has become successful with the restaurant,” Dela Cruz says, “So he just wanted to give back in commemoration of the opportunities that have been afforded to him.”

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

The Gateway at Mililani Mauka
95-1057 Ainamakua Drive, #F8 (across Longs Drugs) Mililani and various locations
626-8828
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

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