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Board shorts feature iconic L&L plate lunches


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POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wearing one's food is often an indication of a sloppy eater, but in this case, the chicken katsu plate and loco moco are on the clothing to begin with.

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, at the Ala Moana Macy's on Sunday evening as part of the store's “;Night of the Stars”; event from 6 to 10 p.m.

Craig Hara, president of California-based Coral Head Inc., which manufactures the board shorts under licensing agreements with HIC, contacted L&L “;out of the blue.”;

He kept the Primo brand going with aloha shirts and other apparel for decades under the Go Barefoot label, but when Pabst Brewing Co. relaunched Primo last year, he “;couldn't afford to fight Pabst ... (who) turned around and gave a licensing agreement to ... Billabong without even giving us consideration.”;

The Go Barefoot label was started by Hara's father, Clarence, and Sterling Mossman, of Barefoot Bar fame.

;  Hara was born on the mainland to isle expats, but he is protective of Hawaii's cachet and speaks indignantly of offshore companies “;using the islands, the island chain, the Hawaiian flag, King Kamehameha and other Hawaiian icons to ... legitimize their brands in Hawaii.”;

Hara began a quest for other iconic local brands “;to keep the integrity of our brand true,”; he said.

Hawaii leads the 50 states in Spam consumption, so he got a licensing deal with Hormel and did a line of Spam board shorts.

In the spring, he launched a line of co-branded Matsumoto's shave ice board shorts, which are also sold out of the Haleiwa shop.

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, said co-founder Eddie Flores. It is being opened by an experienced franchisee who already has a Baskin-Robbins store and a cafe in Anchorage.

From eBay to online news

EBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar and his partner, Randy Ching, are looking for an editor for their local news service, mentioned previously in this space.

The two founded Peer News Inc. in Hawaii in 2008 “;with the goal of empowering citizens and encouraging greater civic participation through media,”; Omidyar blogged. The yet-unnamed service will focus on “;public affairs and civic matters that impact communities across Hawaii.”;

Visit blog.peernews.com.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).