Aloha Byron’s Drive In
Well, you have less than a week to visit the last eating establishment of the iconic Wong family’s long line of restaurants. Byron’s Drive In near the airport will be closing for good on 2/28/13.
For the last 58 years, the Wong family companies have fed generations of Hawaii residents and visitors from around the world.
Byron’s is the last remaining eatery owned by the companies launched by the late Andy Wong and wife Marian in 1954, when they bought Leon’s Tavern in Kailua.
The three entities under which the restaurants operated, Leon’s of Kailua Ltd., Pacific Food Services Inc. and Sea Breeze Ltd., spawned a dozen local-style and upscale restaurants that make kamaaina wax nostalgic, including Andy’s Drive Inn in Kailua, opened in 1957; Andrew’s, first at Ward Warehouse, then Executive Centre; Chinese Chuckwagon at the Ward Farmers Market; Chowder House and Orson’s Seafood Restaurant at Ward Warehouse; Coral Reef Chinese restaurant, Wong’s Okazu-ya, Fishmonger’s Wife and Byron II at Ala Moana Center; Eat at Joe’s in the Outrigger Malia; and Seafood Emporium in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Customers would cross the Koolau to eat Andy’s burgers, slathered with its proprietary red or yellow sauces. When Andy’s closed in 1999, customers bereft of their favored sauces begged the Star-Bulletin to publish the recipe for replication at home. Marian Wong would not divulge the recipe, as the sauces were available at Byron’s.
Fun fact: Andy’s and Andrew’s were named for the founder, while Orson’s and both Byron’s restaurants were named for the couple’s sons. They also had four daughters, but given Andy Wong’s belief that a restaurant named after a woman would not be successful, none were named after them.
Yet another MLC place will become just a memory. Just another blog topic to remember 10 years from now… Maybe now they will share their recipe for the red and yellow burger sauces.
Think you might chance it this week to try an grab a shrimp burger from Byron’s? Maybe an oyster burger? And how about a slush shake to wash it down. What memories do you have from the extensive list of the Wong family long line of restaurants? Share your stories with us.