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Grindz of the Day: Byron's Drive-In and Toshi's Delicatessen

This past Aloha Friday (yesterday), Diner A and I ran an errand in the airport area, where for lunch, we decided to check out the grindz at Byron’s Drive-In.  This place has been a landmark here for decades, where interestingly, come to find out,  is the last remaining in the legacy of  restaurateur Andrew Wong, who has since passed…

Here’s the takeout menu, which includes most selections, except for a few more “specials” and miscellaneous goodies posted on the window in front…

Byron’s Drive-In’ daily specials for June 2010…

Also for your convenience, here’s a download link for the PDF of Byron’s Drive-In’s current menu (2 pages).

While I admittedly haven’t eaten here for some time now, it always amazes me how crowded the place gets every time I drive by, and today was no exception…

It got even more crowded than that after I snapped that photo.

There’s ample seating…

and games, too!…

So anyhow, getting to our “Grindz of the Day”, Diner A decided to sample “Byron’s Mix”…

Byron’s Drive-In – “Byron’s Mix: Teriyaki Beef, Teriyaki Chicken, Chow Mein Noodles, Mac’ Salad and Rice. $8.75

The verdict? Diner A gives it 3 SPAM Musubi, noting the tasty sauce and tasty charred edges on the meats. Oh-right!

I decided to sample one of their “signature” items, the Avocado Deluxe Burger and Onion Rings….

Byron’s Drive-In – Avocado Deluxe Burger ($5.25) and Onion Rings ($2.25)

Notice the classic “local style” mustard-mayo’ sauce just oozing over the edge of the bun bottom. Oh-right!

A better angle…

As always, the cutaway view…

The verdict? The thick slices of avocado were fresh and perfectly ripened, and added a nice “fattening” component to the already fattening burger patty. lol While the crunchy, zesty slice of white onion and acidic tomato added great contrast to them “fattening” stuffs. Then you have more fat comin’ at ya’ in the form of the mustard-mayo’ sauce. Can’t go wrong with that! While the ketchup on the top part of the bun brought it all together.

Complaints would be the bun, which could have been a little fresher, as it tasted like “2 day old bun” lol, while they also didn’t toast the insides, which is a critical factor (that it IS toasted) in how I judge a burger. Also, the burger patty was cooked on a flat top griddle (ugh), yet thankfully wasn’t dried out and still had decent moisture in it, while the crust was, well, FRIED.  Overall nothing really in and of itself worthy to write home or here about.

Yet that “local style” mustard-mayo’ sauce — which can make car bumpers taste good — along with the combination of ketchup, fresh veggies and avocado made it an overall very satisfying burger experience. Enough to give it 3 SPAM Musubi.

As for the Onion Rings, very nice. It had a Fish ‘n Chips type batter that’s airy inside and lightly crispy on the outside. The onions itself were regular whites, being not notably sweet, yet adequately flavorful to stick out within the batter. 3 SPAM Musubi for their Onion Rings as well.

I was gonna’ order their ‘Spicy Ahi Casserole’, which they tout as being a famous dish from the late ‘n great Andy Wong’s Orson’s Restaurant, but changed my mind at the last minute, preferring something more “sandwich-ee”. The Spicy Ahi Casserole was described as being baked with celery, onion and mayonnaise. No cheese? As odd as it may sound, tuna and cheese can be very good friends!

Anyhow, what was interesting was that, along with mostly blue and white collar workers waiting  in line, mixed in the crowd were also a group of mainland tourists who looked like they just off the plane. What a way to start your Hawaii vacation: grab a plate lunch at Byron’s Drive-In! Guy and the “Triple D” folks really should consider this place on their next Hawaii visit. Classic.

Next up we have an Okazuya plate that Diner “Uchinanchu” E picked up early yesterday morning from Toshi’s Delicatessen in Kalihi, a.k.a. God’s Country, a.k.a. “The Center of Hawaii’s Food Universe”. lol But in this case, what’s just as important as the food itself , is how it’s presented! You may recall several months ago, I did a write-up titled “Plate Lunch Presentation 101”, where I explained the various modern and old school methods used to pack a plate lunch.

I for one appreciate and prefer “old school” methods, and thankfully Toshi’s Delicatessen is one of the few remaining that adheres to the practice of wrapping their ROUND PAPER PLATE in BUTCHER PAPER…

It’s like a wrapped gift of oishiliciousness.

Now we shall commence with the unveiling…


Unwrapping that, we have this…

What the? Balut? Hah? Oh, oops, sorry, wrong pic. LOL!

In this next “sequence”, notice the parchment paper liner. Part of the “romance” of this part is pulling it off, where you get some of the food stuck to it…

This is the part when, if no one is looking, you put the parchment paper up to your mouth and try and nibble off every last piece of shoyu long rice noodle stickin’ to it. lol

Finally, presenting Toshi’s Shoyu Chicken, Chow Funn, Shoyu Long Rice and Nori Musubi Okazuya plate…

Toshi’s Delicatessen (Okazuya) – Shoyu Chicken, Shoyu Long Rice, Chow Funn and Nori Musubi. $6

The verdict? Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E gives it 3 SPAM Musubi, which would be the equivalent of 4 or 5 SPAM Musubi for you and I. I must say, he gave me a sample of the chow funn to try and it is TOTALLY ONO. I hate to admit it, but this might just beat the reigning champ, St. Louis Delicatessen (Okazuya). I think Toshi’s has even more flavor, yet remains subtle enough to remain silent, yet effective, if you know what I mean.

Well, that’s it for today’s Grindz of the Day. Toodles!


26 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: Byron's Drive-In and Toshi's Delicatessen

  • October 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Yay! Someone else remembers Waianae Drive Inn! They had the best hamburger curry, and lau-laus! I don’t see any mention of Waianae Drive Inn anywhere else except that Mac salad recipe!! I’m only 36, so if I remember that drive in, somebody else has to as well! Was around at least until the mid-80’s


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