[ food Category ]
November 06, 2004

The fate of L&L Drive Inn #12

L&L Drive Inn #12 located on Young Street is one of those hole in the wall kind of places, hidden away from the main street of life but just readily available. The prices there are much lower than the Ala Moana store and the selection much greater than the recently open location at Wal-Mart.

I have going there the last few months on a Saturday since their daily special is BBQ Chicken and Hamburger Steak for a bargin price of $5.35. It was getting to the point when I it was my turn to order the young lady there would say "Special and a large Mountain Dew". However in the last few weeks I was trying to break the caffeine habit so at best I was throwing her off by changing the size or type of soda or even not ordering soda, but I still ordered the special for the day (other days have other mix specials, I think Monday's special is Chicken Katsu and Hamburger Steak).

A few months ago I think the Star Bulletin reported that when the new Wal-Mart opens, this L&L location (#12) would close because another one will open in the new Wal-Mart. I don't know why, the Ala Moana store was closer to the Wal-Mart store and I don't think it effect store #12 since their prices are way cheaper by around $2 for a large plate lunch.

The staff at #12 didn't talk much about the closure and none of the other patrons (as well as me) that eat there didn't pressed the staff for more information.

Well today I went to #12 and it was still open, but something was different, sort of noticed new light fixtures over the counter and the tables. Not a sign that the place is closing. Same young lady still working there takes my order and says "Special?" And I say yeah and also a large Mountain Dew (okay in a moment of weakness I take a caffeine fix). She fills up a cup of Mountain Dew in a large L&L Drive Inn cup, I pay the bill, gives me the change and says "Oh by the way we are now known as Mahalo Drive Inn".

I asked "Same menu?"

"Yeah" she answers.

While I wait for my order to be filled another patron in back of me orders something and the young lady informs of the name change. I am thinking to myself that this was an unexpected but acceptable to me at least that this business will still be here.

When my order is ready I take it home and before I am out the door the young lady says to me "See you next week".

And I am thinking to myself "Yes"

Posted by Helen at November 06, 2004 01:21 PM


Posted by Mitchell on November 6, 2004 10:05 PM:

I go to this L&L all the time; I have a friend who lives in the condo across the street. The Chinese woman who works there is very nice, and yeah, she's good about remembering her customers.

I didn't know about the closing, though. I did notice that in recent months, the place has physically been falling apart and looking dingier. Perhaps thinking they might be closing, they didn't bother with maintenance.

I'm curious, though. I don't know how franchises work, but I do know that the owners of L&L, Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores, work hard to get franchisees off the ground and give them lots of leeway when it comes to the menu--certain things must be prepared the L&L way and must be on the menu, but beyond that, owners can pretty much exercise their creativity. It's something I like about L&L.

So. When a restaurant is no longer a franchise, how does it handle the menu change? Can the owners of the Young Street L&L keep making its menu items in exactly the same way without violating some kind of agreement? And for how long can the new restaurant continue to use L&L's decor, cups, and signature wall-decorations (ie, the really cute L&L Chinese Zodiac calendars)?


Posted by helen on November 10, 2004 6:53 PM:

Went by there today and they do have a yellow sign outside that says "Mahalo Drive Inn" with a big red M in the middle of it.

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