Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Kenny's Burger House will become a McDonalds, but the Kamehameha Shopping Center Kenny's Coffee House will stay open.

Kenny’s fans
to get Big Macs

The burger joint started by
Kenny Kaneshiro decades ago in
Kalihi is making way for a McDonald's

By Russ Lynch

The Kenny's Burger House in Kalihi, which was around nine years before McDonald's first showed its golden arches in Hawaii, will close this weekend to be demolished and replaced by, yes, a McDonald's.

But John Fujieki Jr., whose family owns Star Markets Ltd.and the Kenny's business, said the Kenny's Coffee House and Restaurant at the other end of the Kamehameha Shopping Center is alive and well and about to get better, with a renovation to start soon.

"The coffee house will renovate next year. It made more economic sense to close (the Burger House) at this time and we had a good offer from McDonald's," said Fujieki, chief executive and president of Star Markets. He declined to elaborate and a local McDonald's executive was unavailable for comment.

City building permits show the 10,500-square-foot Burger House will be torn down and the debris taken away to a landfill in Nanakuli.

A sign on the cash register thanks customers for their business over the years and says it will close at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Kenneth K. Kaneshiro, who had 25 years in the soda fountain business, opened Kenney's Burger House in August 1960 in partnership with Herbert Souza and John Fujieki Sr.

It quickly became known for its teri-beef burger. Kaneshiro was already a tenant in the shopping center. His Kenny's Fountain, originally at the corner of King and Bethel streets in downtown Honolulu, had relocated to the Likelike Highway end of the 317,000-square-foot shopping center. In 1965, Kaneshiro opened the coffee house and restaurant at the Kenny's fountain location.

The Kenny's units became well known through their radio and television slogan about the restaurants in "the Kam Shopping Center in Kaliheeeeee."

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