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Grindz of the Day: Forty Niner Teri Burger

Forty Niner Restaurant (near Pearlridge in Aiea) – Teriyaki Burger, $2.35

Diner A had a doctor’s appointment today in the Pearlridge area, so afterward for lunch, he decided to check out the grindz at Forty Niner Restaurant on the corner of Honomanu street and Kamehameha highway in Aiea, nextdoor to KFC. This small, stand-alone mom ‘n pop establishment was re-opened under the same name in 2006 by Will Cordes and ohana, taking over where the Chagami family left off after being in business for 56 years.

This was actually the first time Diner A ever set foot in the establishment, even after living in the area for many, many years. Which is ironic, as, just like Will mentioned in a Honolulu Advertiser write-up about the place, “Every day, somebody comes in and says they’ve driven by and never eaten here before.”

On his inaugural visit, Diner A chose the Teriyaki burger and fries…

It’s good to see they lightly toast the bun. Toasted buns are happy buns!

The fries ($2.35) had a golden crispy crust with a rich flavor to it, almost as if they were deep fried in lard. Very interesting multi-faceted texture. They were also salted perfectly, which is always appreciated. I tried some and they were fantastic.

For the teriyaki burger ($2.35), he said it was quite tasty, except he would have preferred the sauce to be a bit thicker, and missed a tomato to go along with the lettuce. At least it was a decent size hand-made patty, and not one of them frozen “generi-pucks”

Overall he rated Forty Niner’s burger and fries a solid 3 SPAM Musubi, noting that he’ll likely return again this weekend for an encore.

There’s plenty of other choices on the menu as well…

On the left side of the menu board are the breakfast items, saimin, oxtail soup and side orders.

So the next time you’re in the Pearlridge area and you’re in the mood for local style grinds at a place with a long history behind it, don’t drive by – make a stop at Forty Niner Restaurant.

The restaurant has six customer parking stalls available on the right side of the building.

Forty Niner Restaurant
98-110 Honomanu St
Aiea, HI 96701
(808) 484-1940

The Tasty Island Rating (on a Teriyaki Burger and Fries):

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

12 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: Forty Niner Teri Burger

  • July 18, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Customers can also park next door in the adjacent KFC parking lot. Will and Karla have an agreement with KFC to make it easier for their customers.

  • July 18, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I have tried their saimin when the previous owners were there…ono! Will have to try some of the food there the next time I’m home.

  • July 18, 2008 at 10:52 am

    I haven’t been here since the new owners took over. Good to hear that the food is still ono!

  • July 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    You making me hungry! (and homesick)

  • July 18, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Oh wow – how long I neva eat teriburger! My mouth is watering. I love your blog – you make me homesick too.

  • July 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    I think when I went there originally, they didn’t have fries but you could buy a bag of chips which really gave it that feeling of going to your grandparents’ house to eat. I haven’t been there since the new owners took over though. :)

  • July 19, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Can you do a story on Hungry Lion Coffee Shop ? I read that Walgreen brought the land and might let go that coffee shop which there for many years. Serving American and Asian food and open 24 hours (not sure it still ) Walgreen is just like Long Drugs here in CA. If it true better enjoy it before it gone.

  • July 20, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Marshall, mahalo for the parking info! Very important to know, especially when you look at the place while driving by on Kam Hwy.. it looks like a place where that would be a challenge.

    Kat & Lori, I too am curious how much of the original owners recipes were retained at the new place. Not that I know the original flavors, but still, especially in “critical” dishes that use broth like Saimin and Oxtail Soup, it’s important to carry on the tradition if they’re using the same name, look and feel of the place.

    Sandy and Deb, yeah, this blog tends to do that more than anything else for the expats. lol

    Kasey, you really should try their fries. I’m not sure if it was a timing thing, but the one Diner A brought back to the office was mighty ono!

    Vickie, got the request in my back pocket! In the mean time, here’s some Yelp reviews on Hungry Lion…


  • January 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I had my first cheeseburger at this restuarant as a child of six when my dad was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Korean War. This was in 1951.

    What an experience. I had never had a hamburger with cheese on it before. Reading this review makes me want to get a plane ticket to Hono and go back for the Teriaki Burger.

    There was a juke box in the old cafe that had all those racy singles on it like Manuela Boy and some old pereniels like Kilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop, Mayor of Mola-Kai-Kai and some others.

    We lived at McGrew Point which then was just a collection of Quonset huts on a jungle peninsula. The little cafe looks pretty much the way I remembered in the photo here. Back then it was painted a flat white — not the warm beige and black trim of today.

    Can’t believe it’s still there. I found it by accident looking at Google map/satellite images of McGrew Point. Man has the Kamehameha Highway changed. Six lanes! It was a sleepy two-lane black top when I was a kid. The traffic was probably a car every once in awhile. Today I’ll bet it’s like Interstate 10 going into Houston.

    I am so homesick for Hawaii.



  • January 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Aloha Pomai!

    I just went back to this blog Jan. 29 to print it out for a friend. We are getting together to cook teriaki shrimp, teriaki tuna and maybe teriaki wine and cheese, too!!! ;-) Thanks for your email. What years did your classmate live at McGrew Point?

    I’m trying to find out who to go to to get a history on the place. I was told it was a Naval Hospital right after Pearl Harbor and that’s why the Quonset huts. They were for staff and nurses etc. When the general lived there the military probably realized what prime real estate it is. When I was there as a child it was junior officers (my dad was a j.g ) and enlisted. I sure miss the place.

    In 1951-52 there was an old mansion out on the point that was said to have been a plantation house in the days of sugar growing. It had the most magnificent banyan tree in front of it. The limbs were like walkways — and all of us kids walked the limbs a lot.

    Here’s to the Forty-Niner. When I come back for a visit that is the first restaurant I will go to! Hard to realize it is still there.


  • January 31, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Aloha Harper,

    I see you’re replying on this entry about Forty Niner, yet hopefully you also read the more thorough review on Forty Niner I did just recently here:


    My classmate was living there around ’80 – ’83. Then IIRC, he left our school right after that as his father got transferred. Last name was Blackburn.

    Check out the Forty Niner commemorative tanktops they’ve got for sale there in that newer review. That’d great to wear where you live now (when/if it’s not FREEZING cold), as you could tell stories about the place whenever folks ask you about it.

    I found out the original owner still makes the saimin broth for the new owners, so it sounds like they’re still accessible just in case you really wanna’ dig deep in your research and speak to real people who actually lived and worked around the McGrew Point area.


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