Farewell, Byron’s


Shrimp burgers, oyster burgers, Green River drinks and those popular deep-fried Twinkies.

Those will be gone in March, as the 47-year-old Byron’s Drive-In near the airport will close its take-out windows tomorrow.

Last year the landlord announced plans to redevelop the area — and that included tearing down the drive-in and its iconic yellow sign.

Byron’s was the last hold-out of Andy Wong, whose family also ran these nostalgic heavies: Orson’s, Chowder House and the beloved Andy’s Drive-Inn in Kailua.

Again, another local restaurant is closing and, despite the last-ditch efforts of patrons to support the drive-in, it’s a little too late.

I don’t know why it personally pains me to see it close. I wouldn’t call myself a regular — in fact, I hadn’t been there in years — and when I drove there this morning, I felt a twinge of guilt that I had waited so long to come back.

The thing is, nothing I could have done would have affected the outcome. The landlords wanted a change, and that change involved the closing of the drive-in.

But it makes you think of all the small businesses, mom-and-pop shops and family-owned restaurants that are still around — that I haven’t been to in years.

So let this be a wake-up call. Change is inevitable. Businesses come and go. Support the ones you love, the ones that are worth it, and hope they, like Byron’s, don’t become part of the lore you tell your grandkids years from now.


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7 Responses to “Farewell, Byron’s”

  1. edw February 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Sadly all the support and business couldn’t save Byron’s, the landlord decided to go a different direction with the property. I had my last meal in Hawaii there before we caught our flight home. The shrimp burger was great.

  2. matt February 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    i wouldn’t call myself a regular at any point in my life but I did eat breakfast there a lot when I worked for the airline and was doing business at HNL. change is inevitable and change,often, is good. it hurts now but, like you said, you (and many others) haven’t been there in years. maybe because I live away now, but I’m feeling a mixture of nostalgia and indifference. I felt worse when King’s Bakery closed.

  3. M February 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Hello Cat,
    Sad to see another place closing down. Went there last Thursday and maybe will go tomorrow.

  4. eddyo February 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Good afternoon Cat,

    Here in Hilo, we’ve seen our share or Mom & Pops business lost to age, economy or whatever else. I guess it’s just a sigh of things to come, eh.

    The Wong eating places that I truly missed are Andy’s (grew up Windward), Orson’s & the Chowder House. My gf at the time went there when I graduated from UH & other special events. Almost wants me to dig out some tunes from those days & remember all those precious memories.

  5. David Jackson February 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    NFW! And I can’t come home until May. I used to go there from time to time usually later on in the day. What a bummer.

    The only permanent thing in life is change.

  6. Amy1 February 28, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    It time Wong family have a food truck business no more landlord to deal with and see it now for all to still enjoy their food . It the way to go now renting space to have landlord later take it back it bad when businese become so popular.

  7. Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn March 3, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Sad I never got to try this place. :(

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