Plate Lunches With Far Reaching Flavors

Ali Carte Columns

June 23, 2013

Story By: Ali Resich |

Since the 1970s, a trip to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has been one of Hawaii’s favorite pastimes. The local franchise chain of eateries boasts an assortment of comforting classics that are made fresh, priced reasonably and fuse Hawaiian and Asian-American flavors, all of which have earned it an irreplaceable spot in countless patrons’ hearts.

For many local diners — both living in the Islands and elsewhere — a plate lunch indulgence from L&L is sweetly reminiscent of home. That’s why the mainstay has been successful not only in Hawaii, but with a slew of Mainland locations as well.

“People love L&L!” says director of marketing Brandon Dela Cruz. “We have local transplants who drive miles just to enjoy L&L’s signature brand of plate lunches/Hawaiian barbecue.”

Now the establishment is taking this concept one step further by opening international branches as part of its plight to share Hawaii’s cuisine with people across the globe.

“L&L’s mission is to spread the aloha throughout the world, one plate lunch at a time,” explains Dela Cruz. “The expansion means that the cuisine that local people love is now available beyond Hawaii and the Mainland U.S.”

The most recent addition to the L&L family resides in Fumen, China, where a branch opened this past weekend. Another restaurant is set to debut in New Zealand next month as well.

Here at home, L&L continues to grow with plans for a Mililani Mauka shop to open in the next few months.

The uniting factor in all of the establishment’s locations is an epic dose of glorious local grinds. While some of the menus cater to regional tastes depending on where a particular shop is situated, there are a handful of core items — such as Chicken Katsu, Loco Mocos and BBQ Mixed Plates — that you’ll find at every single L&L.

Dela Cruz suggests going for a Loco Moco (prices vary) first, which features two specially made L&L signature beef patties layered on top of a bed of rice. The dish is topped with an egg and generously smothered in all the richness of the restaurant’s special brown gravy.

Then you can ease your way into the mother of all plate lunches — a BBQ Mixed Plate (prices vary). This heap of smoldering, grilled goodness presents a sampling of some of L&L’s most beloved items with its triad of savory L&L BBQ Beef, Chicken and Short Ribs. To complete the classic, two scoops of white rice and a mound of creamy mac salad are served on the side.

“(It’s) a full plate of L&L’s best!” says Dela Cruz, who adds that both the Loco Moco and BBQ Mixed Plate are cooked to order and generously portioned for the heartiest of appetites.

So whether you find yourself residing in the Islands, relocating to the Mainland or even vacationing abroad, take comfort in knowing a taste of Hawaii is never far away.

Photos courtesy of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Various locations
Hours vary

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best