WILFRED KAWAMURA / ISLE BUSINESSMAN
Founder’s burger place
became local landmark
Wilfred N. Kawamura, the founder of landmark W & M Bar-B-Q Burger in Kaimuki, has died at age 86.
The family-run restaurant, famous for its "royal" burgers and cheeseburgers dipped in a special sauce, has been around for nearly 50 years, although Kawamura and his wife originally opened the hamburger stand near Foster Botanical Garden in 1953.
The restaurant moved to a location on Waialae and 9th avenues before moving again to its current location on Waialae next to City Mill, where the smell of broiling burgers lingers over the neighborhood.
Traffic sometimes backs up on Waialae as cars wait to get in the small parking lot.
Kawamura's older sister, Kiyoko Kojima, said she was happy when Kawamura told her he was going to open W & M.
"He was very quiet and very hardworking," she said.
"It was successful. He came from the old school, and he worked hard," his brother Ronald said yesterday.
Kawamura died Thursday at Kuakini Medical Center, his brother said.
Because of Kawamura's death, W & M is closed until Oct. 29.
Services for Kawamura will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Diamond Head Mortuary.
Besides his brother and Kojima, Kawamura is survived by son Myles, daughter Sandra Sakaguchi, sister Yoshiko Takahashi and six grandchildren.