Hawaii’s Restaurant Legends

The Hawaii Restaurant Association inducts 11 men and women who started out with winning concepts and through hard work influenced generations and changed the way we dine in Hawaii

Susan Sunderland
Friday - September 12, 2008
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Gov. Lingle, Lt. Gov. Aiona and Mayor Hannemann
Gov. Lingle, Lt. Gov. Aiona and Mayor Hannemann joined last year’s inductees (or their representatives): Steve Nagamine of Flamingo restaurants, Tosh Kaneshiro of Columbia Inn, Roy Asato of Wisteria, Peter Canlis of Canlis, Spence Weaver of Spencecliff restaurants, Charlie and Francis Higa of Zippy’s, Dick Rodby of Kemoo Farms, Arthur Salisbury of Jolly Roger, Albert Schmid of Dillingham Executive Dining Room and Andrew Wong of Orson’s

What a concept!

This year’s 11 inductees to the Hawaii Restaurant Association Hall of Fame have one thing in common. They built empires based on a brilliant concept.

If you savor chicken katsu at L&L or the melt-in-mouth goodness of King’s Bakery sweet bread, you are devouring the stuff of dreams. The originators of these restaurant concepts influenced generations of others in the local food industry.

With one exception, these landmark enterprises continue decades later at the hands of family members or partners.

The HRA Hall of Fame recognizes the lifetime achievement of 11 individuals - seven posthumously - who have “demonstrated dedication and commitment to the growth of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii.”

They will be honored at a Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., at the Hawaii Prince Hotel. MidWeek columnists Jo McGarry and Bobby Curran again serve as emcees. Proceeds benefit HRA scholarships for culinary students.

Eight distinguished Island chefs will serve the hungry crowd. They are Hank Adaniya, Chai Chaowasaree, Andy Degamo, Mark Ellman, D.K. Kodama, Sean Priester, Kelvin Ro and Khamtan Tanhchaleun.

Eddie Flores
Eddie Flores

But before the fanfare begins, we invite you to take a walk down memory lane with us.

Following is a roster of the 2008 Hall of Fame honorees and vignettes of how they made their mark on local dining. Savor the brilliance.

Eddie Flores, L&L Drive-Inn Concept: Plate lunch fast food with a unique business model for starter restaurateurs. L&L founder Eddie Flores envisioned a day when plate-lunch places would be as popular as hamburger stands. Today there are 185 L&L Drive-Inn and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants in Hawaii and on the Mainland. The first international operation opens this month in New Zealand.

Flores used a $20,000 investment in 1976 to buy a small restaurant on Liliha Street for his mother. Subsequently, Flores expanded L&L during a time of unprecedented economic hardship in Hawaii. The real estate entrepreneur, named Small Businessperson of the Year in 1998, provides loans, credit and lease guaranty for his employees


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