W & M serves up success for 70 years

Wilfred and Mary KawamuraWilfred and Mary KawamuraBruce MauBruce MauWalt KunimitsuWalt KunimitsuIda ShiraishiIda ShiraishiW&M at 3104 Waialae Avenue in KaimukiW&M at 3104 Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki By Teri Okita – bio | e-mail HONOLULU ( HawaiiNewsNow ) – 70 years ago, Wilfred and Mary Kawamura launched a small burger joint that still stands today. The menu has n’t changed much – in fact, it has n’t changed at all ! In our continuing serial, “ belittled Business in Hawaii Works ”, W & M Burger proves that a mom-and-pop shop can serve up success – through the generations.

There ‘s always a line at W & M Burger on Waialae avenue in Kaimuki. “ Mayonnaise, mustard, catsup, relish, everything on it ? ” the cashier asks. The Kawamuras knew their flame-broiled burgers were something special when they opened their first drive-in back in 1940, but they probably never expected their patriotic following would cover the generations. “ I ‘ve been coming hera since I was in grade school, ” says long time customer, Bruce Mau. W & M owner Walt Kunimitsu explains, “ They remember when my grandfather started it and they merely, you know … the nostalgia and coming spinal column and being at a rate that they feel familiar with. ” Kunimitsu says that ‘s the identify to their success. He took over the syndicate business from his ma, Myra, about nine years ago. Nostalgia and comfort food are the reasons they ‘ve kept the same menu – barely five items – for all these decades.

The unavowed ‘s in the particular BBQ sauce, but the recipe is under lock and identify. I asked Kunimitsu, “ Any hints on what the privy sauce is ? ” He said, “ Oh, no, that ‘s been continue confidential for ages and ages. There ‘s only just two people that know. ” evening Ida Shiraishi does n’t know – and she ‘s worked at W & M for 30 years. At age 16, she came looking for a job when Wilfred was calm boss. Shiraishi remembers, “ He good looked at me. He did n’t even ask for an application to fill out. He just said, ‘Oh, what ‘s your name ? ‘ And then, ‘Come back Saturday ‘. So, I did and he said, ‘Oh, you start on Monday ‘, so I was like, ‘Okay ! ‘ ” Ida ‘s been there always since. The very first base W & M was located in Nuuanu, and the burgers sold for precisely 19 cents. They moved to 9th avenue in the late 60 ‘s, and then, to the current placement in 1980. We wondered what Wilfred Kawamura would think of his business today. “ overall, he ‘d be identical happy, and that ‘s kind of another reason why we want to keep this going because casual that this drive-in stays open is more memory and tribute to them – everybody in all my family who has worked here in the past. ”

future generations of customers hope you ‘ll keep it going, excessively. copyright 2011 Hawaii News now. All rights reserved .