L&L Brings Its Famous Hawaiian Comfort Food to Waco
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L&L Brings Its Famous Hawaiian Comfort Food to Waco

The Hawaiian Barbecue Brand Marks Its 207th Restaurant Opening

December 18, 2020 // Franchising.com // WACO, TEXAS - L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, the leading Hawaii-based franchise, opened its 207th location yesterday in Waco. The 1,750 square foot restaurant at Mary Avenue Market will follow L&L’s franchise model and joins four other L&L restaurants in Texas in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The new restaurant has indoor seating for 48, but currently seats 24 inside and can accommodate 30 for outdoor dining.

Owners Raymond Garrison and Fred Ballard first discussed opening a restaurant together in 2003 when the two were soldiers serving in the Iraqi dessert. “Let’s open a restaurant one day,” Ballard said he told Garrison at the time, as mortars flew overhead.

Fast-forward 17 years, and the friends’ idea is a reality. The Waco L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurant has an open kitchen and decorative elements that are evocative of the tropical location from which the franchise hails. The main wall features a wide band of decorative tiles in shades of light brown and tan, with the L&L logo and other Hawaiian symbolism. Ten large, high resolution, aluminum framed photos of popular Hawaii destinations adorn the other wall. Markers on the floor will remind patrons to remain a surfboard’s length (6 feet) from other customers.

Ballard, who recently retired from the Army after 26 years of service, chose L&L in large part because he was impressed with the low overhead. Garrison, who retired from the Army after 11 years of service, had tried and loved L&L’s food and was already interested in Asian Fusion cuisine.

Ballard grew up near Waco and joined the Army right after high school graduation. He has a total of seven years of combat time.

Garrison grew up in Panama City, Florida and also joined the Army right after high school. When he left the Army in 2005, he received his Associates degree from the Le Cordon Bleau of Culinary Arts and his Bachelor of Art Degree in Hospitality Management from Stratford University.

L&L has already opened eight new restaurants this year in California and Arizona, many during the Covid-19 shutdowns. The Waco franchise will offer L&L favorites such as Barbecue Chicken, Chicken Katsu, Kalua Pork with Cabbage, Loco Moco, and more entrée staples, all served with two scoops of rice and mac salad.

“We are excited to introduce our brand to Central Texas,” said L&L Hawai‘i CEO Elisia Flores. “In addition to providing our signature comfort food, the focus of all of our franchises is doing everything we can to ensure safety and convenience for our customers.” 

Safety measures include a sneeze guard over the counter, on-going sanitation measures, and correct PPE for employees.

Flores was appointed chief executive officer and vice-chair of L&L Hawai‘i in August 2020. She succeeded her father, Eddie Flores, Jr., who founded the iconic brand with Johnson Kam in 1976. The company now has 207 locations throughout the U.S. and Japan, including 15 states, ranging from Alaska to North Carolina.

For customer convenience, the Waco L&L Hawaiian Barbecue will offer delivery and online ordering options from Uber Eats and Door Dash. The restaurant will be open 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. seven days a week Hours may be extended after the first of the year.

SOURCE L&L Hawai‘i

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