We recently moved out of our tiny Honolulu apartment into a slightly bigger place. More space on a budget usually means looking outside of Honolulu, and we found our new neighborhood in fast developing West Oahu. We’re excited to discover all the area has to offer, from dining to beaches and parks. As for the dining scene, it probably won’t take long to try out every restaurant in Kapolei (there’s not that many since the area is still developing), and I’m eager to explore neighboring areas like Waipio, Mililani, Waikele and Pearl City. Waipahu is high on my list too, since it’s an older area, there are lots of hole in the wall local favorites for plate lunches, Filipino food, etc.
One such place Leeward Drive-Inn, gets the thumbs up from BIL2, a local boy from Waipahu, so of course we had to check it out. They’re located on the corner of Farrington Hwy and Pupukahi St. in the heart of Waipahu, where you won’t find a single tourist in sight. They’ve been in business since 1964 so you know they’re doing something right. On the menu you’ll find all the plate lunch usuals like loco moco, fried chicken, fried noodles, as well as breakfast, and some Korean BBQ items too. And a drive inn is not complete without green river (basically lime flavored sugar water with copious amounts of green food coloring – love it!), lilikoi drink, and icee floats too!
After you order your food from the window, there’s a spacious eat-in area on the side of the building.
Here’s the Fried Pork Chop w/ Gravy Plate ($8.45). First of all – WHOA – look at the amount of food on this plate! Three seasoned crispy fried chops smothered in gravy, served with 2 scoops rice, mac salad, tossed salad, and fried noodles.
The Ultimate Mix Plate ($9.95) consisting of kalbi, fried chicken, sweet and sour spareribs, hamburger steak, fried noodles & rice. Again, WHOA. A quick fried chicken review for anyone who cares: Leeward Drive-Inn’s chicken skin is not as crispy as compared to Tanioka’s or Zippy’s, but the meat is juicier. The seasoning is more “Western” style, which the best way to explain might be to say that I would probably pair this chicken with ketchup, whereas I would pour shoyu over Tanioka’s and Zippy’s chicken. One’s not better than the other, just different and yummy in its own way.
Sure, it’s not the healthiest place to eat, but for a good ol’ plate lunch craving, you can get your fill at Leeward Drive-Inn.
MENU: View the menu on their website. (As of current, prices seem to be outdated on their web menu – most items have increased by $0.50-$1.00).
94-209 Pupukahi St.
Waipahu, HI 96797
Fri & Sat 4:30a-12:00a