L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
L&L Franchise, Inc.
  • L&L Drive-Inn
  • L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
Company typePrivate
GenreFast food
Founded1976; 48 years ago (1976) in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Eddie Flores Jr.
  • Johnson Kam
HeadquartersHonolulu, Hawaii
Number of locations
211 locations (2022)
Area served
  • United States (14 states plus 1 US territory)
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
Key people
  • Eddie Flores Jr.
  • Johnson Kam
ProductsHawaiian Plate Lunch
  • US$129 million (2020)
  • Eddie Flores Jr.
  • Johnson Kam

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, known also as L&L Drive-Inn or colloquially as L&L,[1] is a Hawaii-themed franchise restaurant chain based in Honolulu, Hawaii, centered on the plate lunch.[2]

Eddie Flores Jr. and Johnson Kam purchased the original L&L Drive-Inn in 1952, later starting their expansion into Mainland markets in 1999. There are now more than 200 locations across the United States,[3] including locations in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Utah, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. Internationally, the company also has locations in Japan.


In 1952, Eddie Flores, Jr. bought L&L Drive-Inn at 1711 Liliha St., Oahu, Hawaii for his mother, Margaret Flores.[4] He kept the name L&L, even while there was no relation to the current business, and remodeled the building as a small walk-up restaurant for his mother to operate.[5] Later, Johnson Kam joined Margaret as a partner. In 1978, Margaret sold all her shares to Johnson.

After this single restaurant became a local success, Eddie Flores returned as a partner with Kam and helped him with the franchising of L&L in Hawaii in 1988.[6] By 1997, there were 30 locations throughout the state.[7]

Mainland Expansion[edit]

Western United States[edit]

In early June 1999 Kam and Flores noticed that a former employee was doing fairly well selling Hawaiian-style plate lunches in the San Francisco Bay Area, in spite of their restaurant's less than ideal location. Since he realized that it was possible to sell this cuisine in California, Kam and Flores obtained a location in October of the same year inside the Puente Hills Mall in the City of Industry, California to open the first mainland L&L location.[8] Due to differing expectations of the types of food usually served at drive-ins, Flores decided to change the name on the mainland to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue to strengthen the chain's association to Hawaiian cuisine.[9]

There were 49 L&L locations in Hawaii when the first California L&L location opened in October 1999.[8] After opening at the Puente Hills Mall, the chain opened other locations throughout Los Angeles County. In September 2000, L&L opened its first location in Orange County.[10]

The first L&L in the Western United States outside of California was opened in Hillsboro, Oregon in August 2001.[11] Soon after, a location opened in July 2002 in Henderson, Nevada 2002.[12][13] A number of other locations started opening up, including Lynnwood, Washington in March 2003,[14][15] Mesa, Arizona in June 2004,[16] Provo, Utah in August 2004,[17] Aurora, Colorado in August 2004,[18] and Anchorage, Alaska in November 2009.[19][20]

Eastern United States[edit]

L&L opened its first location in this region in May 2003, located in Manchester, Connecticut.[21] This location has since closed.

As for New York, the first L&L location was opened on Fulton Street in New York City in November 2004.[22][23] The New York City location has since closed.[24] L&L's only current New York location is near the Canadian border in Evans Mills.[25]

In Florida, L&L opened in Jacksonville in April 2017.[26]

Central United States[edit]

As of 2022, there are several locations in the Central region. The Plano, Texas, location opened in November 2008.[27][failed verification] Other Texas locations are in San Antonio, Houston, Katy and Waco.[citation needed] Previously operating locations included Champaign, Illinois, near the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign campus in October 2004,[28] East Lansing. Michigan in June 2005,[29] Lewisville, Texas, which opened in April 2008.[30] and Franklin, Tennessee in June 2015.[31]

American Pacific territories[edit]

The company previously had locations in the American territories in the Western Pacific. The first expansion westward of Hawaii occurred when L&L opened in American Samoa in June 2008,[32] though the franchise closed sometime between September 2012[33] and March 2013.[34]

A location in Guam was opened in October 2014,[35] but later closed in January 2018.[36]


L&L Hawaiian Barbecue near Enoshima, Japan

L&L's first international location was opened in Auckland, New Zealand, in February 2009.[37] In Japan, the first location was opened in the Shibuya section of Tokyo in June 2010, and a second location near Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, in December 2017.[38][39][40] In China, the first location was opened in June 2013.[41]

The first L&L location in Malaysia was opened in Kuala Lumpur in December 2014.[35] In 2015, the first L&L location in Indonesia was opened in Jakarta in June 2015,[42] followed by the first L&L location in the Philippines, which opened in Manila in October 2015.[43]

The company closed their sole Indonesian location in January 2017.[44]


A Loco moco mix plate from L&L, with rice and macaroni salad

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue's menu is centered around the Hawaiian plate lunch – two scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a meat or seafood entrée.[45] Many of the menu items include nods to Asian and Polynesian heritage, like chicken katsu and kalua pork.[46] The menu also encompasses popular Hawaiian dishes, such as the Loco moco[47] and saimin. [48] The restaurant chain is also known for their spam musubi, introducing it as a part of their menu in 1999.[45]

In 2021, L&L established August 8th as National SPAM Musubi Day to mark the growing popularity of the snack.[45]

Accolades & Milestones[edit]

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue's success has earned the company many awards and continued rankings in various local and national magazines. In 2002, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was named one of the “50 Regional Powerhouse Chains” by Nation's Restaurant News.[49] The July 2005 issue of Restaurant & Institutions Magazine ranked L&L as the 314th out of America's top 400 restaurant chains.[50] Additionally, Restaurant Business magazine ranked L&L as number 15 out of 50 for Top Growth Chains in the Nation in 2005.[51] Entrepreneur magazine has also ranked L&L's parent company, L&L Franchise, Inc. at number 165 out of 500 for the top franchises in 2005.[52]

In 2012, the company published a cookbook entitled, "$266 Million Winning Lottery Recipes: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Cookbook" written by Eddie Flores, Jr. and illustrated by Jon J. Murakami. The book features several of the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue recipes that made the restaurant famous.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staton, Ron (2004-08-21). "100th L&L opens in California". Honolulu Advertiser.
  2. ^ Hua, Vanessa (2003-07-03). "BAY AREA / More venues offer diners a taste of Hawaii, close by / Diverse population drawn to food that's similar to homeland's". San Francisco Chronicle. p. B-1. Retrieved 2007-04-21.
  3. ^ Creamer, Beverly (September 14, 2021). "Sages Over Seventy: Eddie Flores". Hawaii Business Magazine.
  4. ^ HPR News Staff (16 April 2022). "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue celebrates 70th anniversary". Hawaii Public Radio. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  5. ^ Staton, Ron (June 12, 2005). "L&L had small, slow start but it's moving fast now". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "We have restaurants in Arizona, Colorado and Utah, and all three are doing very well -- in fact, better than California," Flores said. "The reason is a lack of competition. The stores are jam-packed." L&L's first outpost in Michigan opened in January in East Lansing. There are also L&Ls in Nevada, Washington, Illinois and New York, where the first L&L opened on Fulton Street in Manhattan in November and another opened near 34th Street in January.
  6. ^ Wilson, Christie (August 2010). "Growing by Going Global: 5 success stories prove that small, local companies can flourish nationally and internationally". Hawaii Business Magazine.
  7. ^ Enomoto, Catherine Kekoa (July 16, 1997). "Lots of chicken take lemon dip". Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
  8. ^ a b Lynch, Russ (November 26, 1999). "L&L Drive-Inn restaurateur seeking mainland meal ticket: The owner of the local-style food chain wants to capitalize on his success in the isles". Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
  9. ^ Nakaso, Dan (August 9, 2005). "Plate lunches conquer Mainland". Honolulu Advertiser.
  10. ^ Seeden, Curt (September 28, 2000). "Business - End of an era: The Grinder closes its doors". Orange County Register. p. 6. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has opened its first Orange County eatery in the Newland Shopping Center.
  11. ^ "Business Briefs Beaverton Sales Tune-up: The Beaverton Area Chamber". Oregonian. August 23, 2001. p. 14. Plate lunch: L & L Hawaiian Barbecue has opened its first Oregon outlet, inside Fred Meyer, 23105 S.W. Tualatin Valley Highway. The fast-food chain has more than 50 locations throughout Hawaii and California.
  12. ^ Barayuga, Debra (September 29, 2002). "L&L partners eye international growth: The plate lunch chain plans more locations on the mainland and Guam and in Japan". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. all 47 locations here and on the mainland... 12 L&L Hawaiian Barbecues in California, Oregon and the one that opened July 17 in Las Vegas at the Whitney Ranch Center in Henderson.
  13. ^ Rinella, Heidi Knapp (September 11, 2002). "UNLV event offers brews and buffet". Las Vegas Review-Journal. p. 1E. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has opened at 687 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson.
  14. ^ Corcoran, Penelope (March 5, 2003). "New Spots Satisfy Hankering for Hawaiian". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. D1. Lynnwood is the lucky locale to be honored with the very first Washington branch of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, a popular Honolulu-based chain..
  15. ^ "L&l Hawaiian Barbecue". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. March 28, 2003. p. 6. You'll find Western Washington's shiny new L&L Hawaiian Barbecue tucked into the corner of a shopping center on Highway 99 North in Lynnwood, near 196th Street.
  16. ^ Seftel, Howard (July 8, 2004). "No mirage: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue brings the islands to Mesa". Arizona Republic. p. 70 – via Newspapers.com. this growing, wildly popular Hawaiian chain, with more than 50 outlets on the islands and close to 50 more on the mainland, has just moved to town... tucked away in a sprawling East Valley shopping center; two more Arizona branches are planned in far-north Phoenix and Yuma
  17. ^ "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is now open in Provo". Deseret News. August 4, 2004.
  18. ^ Lehndorff, John (August 13, 2004). "Eatery update". Rocky Mountain News. p. 17D. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue opened recently at 14221 E. Cedar Ave. in Aurora dishing chicken katsu and barbecue short ribs
  19. ^ Niva, Josh (March 26, 2010). "Taste of Hawaii". Alaska Dispatch News. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue sprang up in the Dimond mall in November... L&L is a national chain bringing Hawaiian, Polynesian and Pacific Rim standards to mainland America food courts since 1988. Its first Alaska location is in the Dimond Center's basement food court, next to the ice rink... L&L's menu is surprisingly broad, covering fish, beef, pork and even Spam. There are even lighter options like salad and brown rice.
  20. ^ Engle, Erika (November 19, 2009). "Board shorts feature iconic L&L plate lunches". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. L&L Drive-Inn and Hawaiian Island Creations will debut co-branded board shorts, bearing images of the favored local dishes and the L&L logo... The plate-lunch board shorts come with a hang-tag that, when mailed to L&L with proof of purchase, will net the sender a $5 gift certificate good toward a food purchase. For expats, the togs will be sold online via the L&L Web site... Meanwhile, the first L&L Hawaiian Barbecue will be opening in Alaska after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  21. ^ Vann, Korky (June 5, 2003). "L&l Hawaiian Barbecue". Hartford Courant. p. G3. One of the largest and best-known chains is L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, with 50 or so locations in Hawaii and 17 more scattered around California, Oregon and Washington state. Last month, owners opened the first East Coast outlet, in Manchester. (Another is scheduled to open in Wethersfield this summer.)
  22. ^ Sax, Irene (December 11, 2004). "Wikki Wakki 'Cue". New York Daily News.
  23. ^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (March 16, 2005). "Spam Takes the Stage. Monty Python's musical puts the spotlight on a Hawaiian staple". New York Daily News. My quest brought me to 64 Fulton St., where an outpost of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue opened in November.
  24. ^ "Lebanese Standby Replaces Hawaiian Plate Lunches On Fulton". Midtown Lunch. September 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Siebel, Walter (December 9, 2012). "A taste of the Aloha State in Evans Mills". Watertown Daily Times.
  26. ^ Mathis, Karen Brune (January 24, 2017). "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue joining North Florida market". Jacksonville Daily Record.
  27. ^ "L&L Hawaiian BBQ serves up island specialties in Plano". The Plano Magazine. January 6, 2022.
  28. ^ Pressey, Debra (November 1, 2004). "Rural bed-and-breakfast has new owners". The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana). pp. C-7. A Hawaii-based restaurant chain, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, has opened one of its restaurants in Champaign's Campustown. It's located at 402 E. Green St.
  29. ^ "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Grand Opening ad". Lansing State Journal. June 23, 2005. p. 46.
  30. ^ Eakin, Dan (April 1, 2008). "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue opens with dancers, band, priest". Lewisville Leader.
  31. ^ Moriki, Darin (May 1, 2015). "L&L Hawaiian Grill to follow Hawaii native Marcus Mariota to Nashville". Pacific Business News.
  32. ^ "Popular Hawaii Restaurant Opens In American Samoa". Pacific Islands Report. June 24, 2008.
  33. ^ "Welcome to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue of American Samoa". L&L Hawaiian Barbecue of American Samoa. Archived from the original on 2012-09-22.
  34. ^ "We regret that L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in Pago Pago is now closed". L&L Hawaiian Barbecue of American Samoa. Archived from the original on 2013-03-26.
  35. ^ a b "L & L Hawaiian Barbecue to open four new restaurants in Guam, Malaysia". Pacific Business News. September 29, 2014.
  36. ^ "We have closed the restaurant". L&L Hawaiian Barbecue GUAM – via Facebook.
  37. ^ "L&L plate lunchery says aloha to Aotearoa". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. February 19, 2009.
  38. ^ Engle, Erika (June 7, 2010). "L&L opens its first store in Japan in busy Shibuya". Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
  39. ^ "L&L Opens Tokyo Restaurant". KITV. June 7, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  40. ^ "Hawaiian Dining Cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo, and Fujisawa, Kanagawa". platelunch.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  41. ^ "L&L opens first restaurant in China". KHON-TV. June 20, 2013. Archived from the original on 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  42. ^ Perdani, Yuliasri (July 3, 2015). "A tour of sizzling: mouth-watering barbecues". Jakarta Post.
  43. ^ Moriki, Darin (October 2, 2015). "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue opens first restaurant in the Philippines". Pacific Business News.
  44. ^ "Sorry we're closed". L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Indonesia – via Facebook.
  45. ^ a b c "L&L Hawaii's First National SPAM® Musubi Day Is A "Six Ton" Success With 12,000 Pounds Of The Iconic Snack Consumed". Franchising.com. September 3, 2021.
  46. ^ Evans-Hylton, Patrick (December 2, 2020). "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue serves up island flavors". The Virginian-Pilot.
  47. ^ Combs, Lauren (September 22, 2021). "Review: E Komo Mai! L&L Hawaiian Barbecue welcomes students to the islands". Baylor Lariat.
  48. ^ Wright, Johnathan (August 8, 2017). "Another L & L Hawaiian Barbecue to open in Reno".
  49. ^ Engle, Erika (February 17, 2002). "L&L chain makes hay, gets ink". Starbulletin.
  50. ^ Rumbaoa, Rudy (July 15, 2011). "Bryan Andaya of L&L Wins Business Leader of the Year". Fil-Am Observer.
  51. ^ "WATCH YOUR STEP!". Restaurant Business. July 7, 2005.
  52. ^ "108 Tips on Business, Travel, and Culture in China". Readers+Writers Journal. January 31, 2015.

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