If you’ve lived in Hawaii and have frequented Honolulu then you more than likely have passed by Pee Wee Drive Inn during a drive down South King Street. I’ve lived in Hawaii all my life and have passed by Pee Wee’s more times than I could possibly remember. Surprisingly, I have never eaten at this famous old time Hawaii favorite.
Located at 1602 South King Street, Pee Wee Drive Inn has been serving locals since Nobuo Watanabe opened up the eatery in 1966. Although Watanabe has since passed away and there has been management changes (Watanabe sold the business in 1996), Pee Wee continues to serve the local style food that it has become known for.
Having never eaten at Pee Wee’s before, I decided to forgo the regular food flare freely available at other plate lunch hot spots. I indulged in a mini chicken adobo plate (US $5.50). I have had my share of chicken and pork adobo having grown up in a Filipino household, so I know how good adobo tastes. For the untrained, adobo is a filipino dish, of either pork or chicken, that “is slowly cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns, and often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterwards to get the desirable crisped edges.”
My chicken adobo plate was ready in less than five minutes, very fast indeed. It came with a scoop of rice and a side of corn (you get to choose a side of either corn, mac salad, or greens). I have to admit though, that the chicken adobo plate was a bit lackluster. Each bite I took made me long for my grandma’s authentic adobo dishes. The chicken adobo at Pee Wee’s tasted more like shoyu chicken with a small splash of vinegar. It was not “adobo” enough for my liking!
Next time maybe I will try the chicken katsu plate and see how it compares to L&L’s herelded katsu plate. I know for sure that I won’t be ordering the adobo plate again! All in all, the plate that I had was sub par, but the service was quick and efficient. The parking can be a mess if you go during rush hour lunch times, so I suggest you go during off hours if you just want to test the place out. The ambience is great, there are a few tables and chairs outside. It’s a rustic experience that’ll make you’ll feel as if you’re back in 1966.
Pee Wee Drive In
1602 South King Street