L&L takes the Islands by stormColumns Lite Bites
December 28, 2014
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Since its opening in 1995, Windward City Shopping Center’s L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in Kaneohe has become a generational favorite for many families in the neighborhood, much like it is at other L&L locations throughout the state.
“I’ve watched a lot of kids grow up,” says owner Jennifer Cheung. “When they were small, they would come with their parents. And then, because Castle High School is close by, a lot of them came here after school. Now, they are adults, and bring their own kids. They come in and say, ‘Aunty, you’re still here.”
In addition to her regular customers from area homes and nearby businesses, Cheung says the restaurant also has been welcoming a lot of tourists, who usually are on their way to or from Kailua.
Known for its tasty, local-style plate lunches, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue originated with L&L Drive-Inn in Liliha in 1976, and has grown exponentially to about 200 restaurants throughout Hawaii, the Mainland, as well as in Guam, New Zealand and Japan.
Local favorites include Loco Moco (regular plate $9.29) featuring two homemade hamburger patties and two eggs any style; Kalua Pork with Cabbage (regular plate $9.29); and, of course, homemade burgers and crinkle french fries. L&L also is famous for its Saimin Burger, which was introduced earlier this year, and has been a big hit ever since.
In recent years, the establishment has been adding healthier options to its menu. For example, the popular BBQ Chicken Plate also is available as a “Healthier Plate” ($7.39), served with one scoop of brown rice, and fresh, tossed greens.
In the Islands, there are 39 L&L establishments on Oahu, seven on Maui, nine on the Big Island, and four on Kauai. Each is operated as a franchise, and offers the same familiar menu. However, some locations may have a few unique items. At Windward City Shopping Center’s locale, Pork Roast with Gravy, Grilled Garlic Chicken, and breakfast items are available starting at 8 a.m.
“The L&L secret to success is that we have good food, good taste, big portions, and we give good service to our customers,” says Cheung. “We use the same L&L Hawaiian barbecue sauce in all restaurants.
The company gives us the recipe and trains the cooks. (Founders) Eddie Flores and Johnson Kam really take care of us. They even come down and check on us once in awhile.”
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
Windward City Shopping Center
45-480 Kaneohe Bay Drive
Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.