The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, June 5, 1997

Andy’s admirers
remain true for 40 years

PEOPLE will travel a long way for a little yellow sauce -- almost Day-Glo

bright -- from Andy's Drive-Inn in Kailua.

Just what's in that sauce and what makes it so yellow has been a secret for 40 years, but once customers have tasted its pickle-relish zing, they never forget it.

The burger may be only half as thick as those at other fast-food restaurants, but people will pass on the chains, driving all the way from Aina Haina, Nanakuli, Waianae and Haleiwa for an Andy's burger, as well as wing in from points beyond the Pacific Ocean.

As operations manager for Andy's, Nora Agustin keeps tabs on these matters. "There's one woman," she says "who buys two- dozen cheeseburgers every time she's here. She packs them in a cooler and brings them back to Seattle and freezes them until she's ready to eat them, but she complains that they're all gone in a week.

"Her neighbors are from Hawaii, too, so she gets them to bring cheeseburgers back to her, but she feels sorry for others in Seattle who are homesick for a taste of Hawaii."

Augustin knows of others who pack Andy's macaroni salad in Tupperware containers for flights to California. When that dreaded airline meal comes, they simply bust out their own food.

Andy's has made a lot of friends since it opened 40 years ago, just two years after McDonald's made its debut. Andrew Wong and Ben Lum opened the restaurant on June 17, 1957. The building was designed by John McAulisse, who hailed from New Zealand and was inspired by Maori architecture to give the drive-inn its pillars and pointed roof.

Til this day, drivers coming across the Pali into Kailua can see the pointed red roof when exiting the second tunnel.

ANDY'S will celebrate its 40th anniversary Saturday with a "Cruise Night" show of classic cars set to '50s rock 'n' roll.

If you didn't get enough of Marilyn at the Academy of Arts' "Elvis + Marilyn" exhibition, Marilyn is standing pretty in the window at Andy's, along with James Dean.

The staff is also turning back the clock all month long with a 57-cent hamburger, available if you also buy a 16-ounce slush float. (In 1957, burgers were actually 19 cents, but that wouldn't even pay for the yellow sauce in 1997 dollars.)

Other specials will be a Hawaiian Mix Plate, for $6.50 tomorrow, with two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, a laulau, kalua pork, sweet potato and haupia ; and a Portuguese Mix Plate, for $5.95 on June 20, with two scoops rice, macaroni salad, pickled vegetables, pickled pork, sweet bread, pickled potatoes and Portuguese Bean Soup.

Another popular item on the regular menu is Andy's Shrimp Burger ($2.95), sweet breaded shrimp served with tartar sauce and lettuce on a sesame seed bun. More substantial is the Salmon Burger ($3.95). Fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions compensate for a rather spongy salmon patty. In both cases, you should ask to have the buns toasted, since the hot food on cold bun just doesn't cut it.

COMEDIAN Bu La'ia says he's been going to Andy's "since baby time."

These days he stops in at least twice a week to recharge after days spent filming his soon-to-return "Bu La'ia Show." He likes Andy's Teri Beef Plate, but says, "The mostest I order is the Seafood Combination.

"The french fries are the best and the slush float is good, too. If I no like get too full I order the saimin or the teri beef burger, not the teri burger.

"Must be the pan, I think they no wash 'em," he said. "Get plenny good flavor. Taste much better than when I cook."

Andy's Drive-Inn

Where: 142 Oneawa St.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays
Prices: Pretty cheap
Call: 262-4920

Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:

-- excellent;
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- average;
-- below average.

To recommend a restaurant, write: The Weekly Eater, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or send e-mail to

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